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Female Founders: Would you use this Life Hack?

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Fortune’s blog “The World’s Most Powerful Women” by Claire Zillman, recently highlighted the story of two female founders who invented a fake third (and male) co-founder to avoid the gender bias they experienced in business. The women reported faster response times to their communications when sent from their fake co-founder and easier access to proactive help for their fledgling company.

While we can’t know for sure if the addition of a fake male co-founder to all-female teams was the tipping point for this particular startup, it poses an interesting question as to whether women should try this life hack to avoid gender bias, or whether by trying it, we undermine female-led companies and all women in business?

While it may be an interesting social experiment to have a male avatar, the majority of female businesspeople I spoke with about the blog post said they prefer to focus on business rather than gender to get ahead. 

It may not make dealing with day-to-day incidences of gender bias easier, but in my experience, subject matter expertise goes a long way to combat adversity in work settings. Women in business who avoid the noise by bringing the conversation on gender bias back to business send a powerful message.

In a recent interview with Cam Newton (quarterback for the Carolina Panthers), Charlotte Observer journalist Jourdan Rodrigue asked Newton about football running routes and plays. Newton responded by commenting it was “funny” to hear a “female talk about routes.” After the incident Rodrigue took to Twitter and responded “I don’t think it’s ‘funny’ to be a female and talk about routes. I think it’s my job.”

Would you use this life hack? Have you changed or abbreviated your name to be gender neutral? Or do you just stick to business? Would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below, email me or connect with me on LinkedIn.

The blog content should not be construed as legal advice.

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