Sangeeta N. Bhatia, M.D., and Ph.D, runs a bioengineering lab at MIT, has helped to start ten companies, and counts among her close friends some of the nation’s most successful women. But she also recognizes that she is the exception and that further efforts are needed to bring women into the upper echelons of STEM careers and encourage them to become entrepreneurs.
“Women lead only 3 percent of tech startups, account for only 4 percent of the senior venture partners funding such startups and represent only 5 percent of the founders, advisors and directors at MIT technology spinoffs.”
Bhatia says her success is due to three primary inspirations: her father set high standards for her, always asking her when she would start her first company, even being leery of her entry into the academic world; her microclimate of close friends and colleagues consist of female academics, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs; finally, the men in her life have been the strongest advocates for her success in the professional world.
From her graduate thesis advisor to her first investor to her husband, “the truth is that changing the face of technology requires the involvement of men who care about it,” Bhatia writes.
To be sure, men need the help of women. Silicon Valley’s Vivek Wadhwa became committed to helping reduce the technology gender gap after his wife pointed out to him the dearth of women at an industry event:
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