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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There has been a sizable increase in the percentage of female decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms, albeit nothing near parity, according to an Axios analysis.

By the numbers: Nearly 12.4% of decision-makers at U.S. venture capital firms are women, up from 9.65% in a similar study conducted in February 2019.

  • Prior marks were 8.93% (2018), 7% (2017), and 5.7% (2016).
  • Overall in 2020, we found 182 female decision-makers among 1,472 total decision-makers at 351 firms.
  • 213 of the firms (61%) did not have any female decision-makers. Only 34 firms (9.7%) had two or more.

Methodology: As in the past, we asked PitchBook for a list of all U.S.-based venture funds that had raised at least one fund of at least $100 million in the past five years. We then examined the current websites of those firms to determine decision-makers — rather than simply counting anyone listed as "partner." We also excluded administrative partners, such as CFOs and heads of marketing.

  • There is a compelling argument that women are more highly represented in sub-$100 million funds, particularly as more women leave established firms to hang their own shingles. But we stuck with the $100 million threshold in order to maintain apples-to-apples consistency.
  • It's also important to note that not all decision-makers — regardless of gender — have equal-sized checkbooks.

What's happening: Many established venture capital firms, almost always founded by men, do seem to be making a more concerted effort to hire women in senior positions. And this has been enabled, in part, by launching new fund strategies that have required new partner hires.

  • But, but, but: Our overall decision-maker sample expanded from 1,088 last year to 1,472 this year. Only 20% of the added positions are filled by women.

The bottom line: Venture capital is doing better when it comes to gender equality — but it's not doing well.

Go deeper: Women's woeful C-suite representation

Go deeper

Updated Sep 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rock the Vote event highlights women's suffrage in push to register new voters

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a press conference on Capitol Hill Thursday. Photo: Lenin Nolly/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Female office-holders stood on the shoulders of suffragettes at a virtual Rock the Vote event Monday celebrating a century of progress since the 19th Amendment passed, but demanding more action to achieve equality.

Driving the news: That's what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) and other speakers noted at Monday night's event. Pelosi also celebrated "the most diverse caucus in history, over 60% women, people of color and LGBTQ."

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Third Way: "Big Lie" could become "Big Coup"

Graphic: Third Way

Third Way, the center-left think tank, is urging fellow Democrats to respond to the Capitol riot with "the size, scope, and seriousness of a presidential campaign," co-founder Matt Bennett tells me.

Driving the news: "For the first time in U.S. history, a party must mount two parallel presidential campaigns: one to win the election, and the other to prevent its theft," Bennett said, calling this "a Paul Revere moment."