Sydney, 23 February 2017: Women working in Australia's venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) sector have an important role to play in encouraging more women into the industry, which will only benefit from greater gender diversity according to Clayton Utz partner and PE specialist, Kounny Rattley.
Speaking today as part of a panel discussion at the Women in VC Forum 2017 hosted by InnovationAus.com on how the VC sector can encourage greater female participation and engagement, Kounny said both men and women working in the industry should actively promote VC as an exciting and viable career path. There was also an opportunity for industry employers to consider introducing and promoting initiatives specifically to attract women, such as paid parental leave and flexible work.
"All the research points to diversity - not just of gender, but of thinking, culture, personality - as a driver of strong business performance. The VC and PE industry has historically attracted far more men than women. I think there are a few reasons for this: women self-selecting out of a career in the sector due to misconceptions about the nature of the industry and its being dominating by a 'boys' club' mentality," said Kounny.
"The industry has matured and attitudes have changed. There's a lot more acceptance and recognition of what women can bring to the table, and we've seen several women lead the way in carving out successful careers as venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Hopefully we're now at a tipping point where we'll start to see more women attracted to the VC sector and the career it offers."
A private equity specialist, Kounny is one of Clayton Utz' newest partners, having been promoted on 1 January. She began her career at Clayton Utz and decided to specialise in private equity early on.
"It was the area where I felt most engaged - I liked the type and variety of work and the fact every deal is different and interesting. It's very fast paced and you're dealing with very intelligent, sophisticated dealmakers. It's a dynamic, exciting area of practice."