East Ventures presents its first women-centered forum, Women with Impact Forum
February 18, 2022
East Ventures, a pioneering and leading sector-agnostic venture capital firm in Indonesia, today presented its first women-centered forum, named Women with Impact Forum. The forum was conducted virtually and livestreamed through East Ventures’ official YouTube channel, where it provided the participants with three main sessions featuring several top key panelists from East Ventures and tech startup leaders. They shared their views and experiences towards women-related issues.
Despite all the innovations and breakthroughs we have had in tech, there are statistics that point to the reality that women remain underrepresented, and in most cases underpaid, undermined and discriminated against. In a Harvard Business Review report released just last February, women-led startups only received an abysmal 2.3% of VC funding in 2020. However, in reality, diversity creates higher returns for investors and better products and services for the general public. Based on these data, East Ventures has taken its step in facilitating the conversation towards the gender issues that we are currently facing.
Roderick Purwana, Managing Partner of East Ventures shared, “We are honored to be able to conduct the first East Ventures’ women-centric forum, where we believe through this event, all of the panelists have provided the real views in addressing the current challenges we are facing in relation to the women-related issues, especially on how we should empower women and make positive impacts. “Women with Impact” forum also marks our step in supporting the gender mainstreaming strategy as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 5.”
The forum started with the first session “Working Moms: Balancing Motherhood and a Career”, featuring three key panelists including: Avina Sugiarto, Venture Partner of East Ventures; Sharlini Eriza Putri, Co-Founder & CEO of Nusantics; and Tita Ardiati, Co-Founder & CEO of Mindtera. They provided real views of the daily situation and challenges faced by working moms. They acknowledged and shared that balancing work and family is indeed challenging, but it does not mean that there is no solution. Sharlini shared the importance of accepting and understanding the challenges to be able to find the best solution with a clear mind. She also shared that women should not feel that they are lesser, because in fact women have huge opportunities given that women are better negotiators.
Working in venture capital, the industry that is usually portrayed as “more suited” for men, has made Avina realize that there is a need for more involvement of women in venture capital. Women can bring a more diverse perspective and experiences in making the decision, especially for some investment decisions that require women or even moms in understanding the pain points. To close the session, Tita shared tips on creating healthy boundaries, which will help women in maintaining their wellness state. She shared the importance of being present in every activity. For instance, she spends 10-15 minutes of her time with family without any distractions. By doing that, she is able to be fully connected with her family and experience a positive impact on it.
The second session was ”Unraveling Stereotypes of Women in Tech”, where it provided the views of some stereotypes or even prejudice towards women in the tech industry from men’s perspectives. This panel discussion featured three panelists, including Roderick Purwana; Italo Gani, Venture Partner of East Ventures; and Ferry Tenka, CEO of Entrepreneur Solutions at SIRCLO. The panelists started the discussion by sharing the importance of being aware of the women-issues, as it would be a starting point for us in understanding how we can work towards the improvement.
On this occasion, Roderick also shared how East Ventures has a diverse background and gender among the team, where this proportion has led East Ventures to further identify overlooked problems and understand the market more deeply. He also encouraged the startups under its portfolio to share the same values, providing equal opportunities and access for women in entering the work industry, especially tech. All panelists also touched on their experiences on how women brought impactful impact in the tech industry, and reasoning on why we need more of them in the industry.
Lastly, the forum also covered a topic of “Creating An Empowering Workplace for Women”, with three panelists: Roshni Mahtani Cheung, Founder and Group CEO of theAsianparent.com; Samira Shihab, Co-Founder and CEO of Tinkerlust, Founder of Stellar Women; and Gillian Tee, Founder & CEO of Homage. The panelists provided applicable practices and a better understanding on the importance of creating empowering workplaces in supporting working women and moms.
Roshni provided the views on the importance of a clear leveling system in the hiring and promotion process, so it would provide equal chances and opportunities for everyone regardless of their gender. She also provided a virtual day care for all the employees, where the company has hired some of the teachers to teach the children while their parents are working. On the other hand, Samira shared the importance of creating awareness of how education is important for women; which is done through the education allowance provided by the company in helping and supporting their workers to continue their studies. She also raised the issue on how there’s a term for mompreneur, and there is no term for dadpreneur. She believed that it’s vital for the society to also acknowledge the same challenges faced by men, which by doing that, it will reflect towards some policies that might also end up in empowering women.
Gillian provided some of the policies that Homage has applied, including the importance of socializing all of the management to raise any issues, and how we need to create the normality for all women to speak up and not feel stressed about doing that. She also ensured that the performance and promotion scheme are visible for everyone, ensuring that there is no pay gap among workers with the same level of performance.
The panelists round up the discussion by providing some general tips for all of the women. First, marrying the right person as it will really help and understand you as your partner. Second, do not be hard on yourself; It is absolutely ok for us to have lulls in career and life. Third, it is also important for women to be friends and make friendships with other women. Fourth, women should be more proactive and not be too apologetic.
Samira Shihab, Co-Founder and CEO of Tinkerlust, Founder of Stellar Women, commented, “We appreciate the initiative by East Ventures, especially where we need intentional effort supporting women in tech. It’s the right initiative to start with, and we are excited to see more exciting women empowerment campaigns from the tech ecosystem moving forward.”
Check out the rerun of Women with Impact Forum 2022 by clicking on the video below.