Europe’s inaugural Women in VC Summit is the first step in a long climb toward equity

Some of the most prominent women in venture capital descended upon Paris this week for the first Women in VC Summit, European edition.

The event, organized by investors Sophie Winwood and Ruth Foxe Blader, brought together top minds to discuss creating a more inclusive and equitable venture landscape. The conference was open only to those identifying as women, and panels included topics such as the role of LPs in diversifying tech, finding the next women-founded unicorn and inspiring more women fund managers.

Winwood and Blader were inspired to create the conference after growing tired of the paltry funding and few opportunities granted to women in Europe. In 2021, only 1.1% of all venture capital in Europe was allocated to women-founded companies. Though that number is down from the 2.4% raised in 2020, it is on par with what was raised in 2017, 2018 and 2019, which saw women receive 1.5%, 1.8% and 1.5% of all venture capital, respectively.

Diversity conferences such as these are quite common in the U.S., but that’s far from the reality in Europe. Women in VC Summit: Europe is stunning in the breadth of its vision: Through sunset soirées, wine chats and networking hours, women from across the continent convened to permeate the concrete ceiling.

The event will end today with a happy hour known as “ally drinks,” where men will finally be allowed into the room. It’s a subtle nod to knowing that change is a group effort, and those with power are responsible for how they wield it.