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Key Findings

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Investors

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Purpose

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Policy

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Appendix

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Community-Led Change

We asked respondents to share their views on initiatives they believe have had the biggest impact on promoting or enabling greater diversity in the European tech ecosystem. The most cited factors include better education on the topic, greater awareness via media coverage and the impact of events focussed on the topic of diversity and inclusion.

In your opinion, which initiatives, if any, have had the biggest impact in promoting or enabling greater diversity and inclusion in the European tech ecosystem?

Source:
Note:
Keyword analysis performed on open-ended answers, similar spellings and keywords aggregated.

Intuitively, it feels like diversity and inclusion have gained an increased level of prominence in the news narrative around the European tech industry. But our analysis of more than 450,000 tech-related articles published in the past year by over 1,000 European news sources shows that diversity and inclusion actually declined as a relative share of total news coverage, even though it increased in absolute terms versus 2018. By contrast, the relative share of news coverage focussed on topics such as fundraising or AI increased in 2019.

Share of total tech news narrative (%) by topic area and year

Source:

Legend

  • 2018
  • 2019
Note:
Based on ~5,460 stories across 1,094 European news sources from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2018 (2018 data) and on 5,300 stories across 1,105 European news sources from 1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019 (2019 data).

It is notable, however, that the overall sentiment of news coverage focussed on the topic of diversity and inclusion shifted to be more positive in 2019 versus the prior year. It is important to share positive messages with underrepresented communities and not simply further reinforce deeply entrenched stereotypes that have made tech so unwelcoming to these groups.

Share of total stories (%) per topic by sentiment summary

Source:

Legend

  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Negative
Note:
Based on ~5,460 stories across 1,094 European news sources from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2018 (2018 data) and on 5,300 stories across 1,105 European news sources from 1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019 (2019 data).

One of the most powerful reasons to be optimistic about the possibility of making and accelerating positive change towards a more diverse and inclusive European tech ecosystem is the large and growing number of initiatives working directly to achieve this goal. Last year, we included a list 28 initiatives identified by Diversity VC in just the UK alone. This year, Sifted has been able to identify 100 different initiatives from all across Europe.

European diversity initiatives and organisations by region

In some areas, European tech has certainly become more diverse in the last year. Initiatives like OneTech, funds like Backstage Capital and communities like Foundervine, Blooming Founders and Femstreet have grown in scale and influence in the main hubs, and there is a growing understanding of the importance of inclusion and not just diversity, which is very welcome.

Check Warner

Diversity VC

Co-Founder

As the industry has focused more of its attention on the topic of diversity, there has been a large rise in the number of events focused on D&I across the region in recent years.

Source:

Legend

  • # of events hosted
  • % of all events hosted
Note:
2019 annualised based on data to September 2019.

Still we have to be honest that both our industry and ourselves need to do more to really change the picture.

We still see about 80% of the founder teams being predominantly male. But we strongly believe that one of Europe's biggest assets in global competition is its diversity. Europe sees a large number of initiatives to encourage and include specifically female founders and entrepreneurs, and it seems that these dynamics are accelerating in a very positive way, also triggered by an increasing number of top-level female investors. Speedinvest is actively supporting local initiatives to drive gender equality and age equality such as 'Female Founders' and 'WisR'. Still we have to be honest that both our industry and ourselves need to do more to really change the picture.

Daniel Keiper-Knorr

Speedinvest

Founder & Partner

According to Meetup, 'Women in Technology' is one of Top 10 fastest-growing topics for all tech-related Meetup events in Europe in 2019.

Source:
Note:
2019 annualised based on data to September 2019. Only events with at least 250 events in 2018 included.

Despite the rise of events focussed on bringing together and supporting underrepresented groups within European tech, at a macro level there has not been any material improvement in female attendees in tech-related Meetup events in Europe in recent years. Women accounted for only 23.4% of participants in 2019, a number that has only crept upwards from 23.0% in 2018.

Source:
Note:
% of the reported gender of attendees.

Eastern European countries are the main constituents of the top 10 list of countries for female participation at tech-related Meetup events. Though there are differences across countries, the participation of women in tech community events throughout Europe remains low; Hungary, the number one country by share of participants in events that are women, tops the list with just 28%. Denmark, at the other end of the list, has one of the lowest female participation rates at just 18%.

Source:
Note:
% of the reported gender of attendees. Only countries with at least 100 female attendees included.

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