Afternoon Tea in Jerusalem Blog

Life in Israel

tea
Israeli commercial life and society

In addition to my work as a business coach, one of my interests is blogging about life in Israel. This is a country full of contrasts – over eight million citizens living in an area the size of Wales. You can see snow and the lowest place on the globe in the same day. Although surrounded by geopolitical extremes, Israel has achieved a decade of high economic growth. My work brings me in contact with an array of new companies, exciting technologies and dynamic characters. Sitting back with a relaxing cup of strong tea (with milk), you realise just how much there is to appreciate in the Holyland. Large or small operations, private sector or non profit, my clients provide experiences from which others can learn and benefit.

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Are investor panels biased against the female pitch?

Over the past month, I have received some requests from female clients to help them overcome the bias they face from male panelists as they present at investor ‘pitch events’.

I was astounded. Here we are; Israel in 2017. A core assumed fundamental to the successful entrepreneurial sector is transparency – to allow everyone to come through and to have a chance. So why is there a problem?

Let me paraphrase their explanations. It appears that the overwhelming majority of the presenters and the panelists are of the male gender. And in parallel, any pitch event is supported by a number of pretty, youngish-looking females. And, for my clients, the male presenters look their part, many having come through the macho and pushy system of the army.

I am a business coach and mentor. I believe that I have prepared my people well. They are armed with a catchy story. Their business model is reasonably solid. They can explain the salient points of their markets succinctly. In return, they receive excellent, positive feedback all round. And yet with unvarying disappointment, they do not advance to the next stage.

There is a strong whiff of sexism in the air, latent or otherwise. So what can the female protagonist do about it? One of my suggestions is to exploit the tool of endorsements. Seek out opinion leaders or social movers who can vouch for you and / or your product. Their voice will make it very difficult for any chauvinist to play their cards.

I suppose it is an interesting question if these shakers and movers need to be male or female!

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