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IN-VISIBLE Academia: Queering Entrepreneurship through an Ethnographic Study of a Women-led Tech Startup in Berlin

My research explores what happens in a workplace where men are no longer put on a pedestal.

Miguel Wilson is a researcher with the University of North Carolina. They have published their thesis on workplace culture within Berlin's startup scene. An interesting and important topic, we believe. Having worked at Factory Berlin for more than three years before we moved into our office, IN-VISIBLE has many stories to share of how it is like for a queer FLINTA team with a social cause, working amidst predominantly male tech founders.


The Start-Up Ecosystem is Not Known for Diversity and Inclusion


Miguel's research provides our anecdotal experiences with empirical insights and theoretical concepts. They say: "We have all heard about how terrible and unsafe it can be to work in male-dominated spaces. The tech industry in particular, thanks to masculinity contests and bro culture, is a hotbed for gendered violence."


Their research goes into specific aspects of startup culture and describes the gendered logic of entrepreneurship culture, gendered practices and structures, gendered cultures, interactions and identities. However, their thesis is not solely an analysis that criticizes the status quo, it also highlights the "power of femme-dominant spaces and the value of feminist management practices". Miguel thus manages to provide constructive imperative that allow us to envision "better, more inclusive work environments."


Do More Start-Ups with More Diversity Have a Better Working Culture?


Miguel's thesis is particularly interested to understand how cultures in women-led start ups differ from the problematic work culture that has been reported in previous research on tech firms. In their own words, they describe it as follows:


"My research explores what happens in a workplace where men are no longer put on a pedestal. At More Than A Jewel (MTAJ), feminist management practices, and having a gendered wearable technology as a product, helped to make work fun, flexible, and safe. I argue that having a workplace that challenges heteronormative assumptions, not only makes for a better place to work for women and queer people, but cis-men as well."


Lastly, Miguel hopes that their research contributes to the deconstruction of systems of oppression. They believe that creating a (working) world in which power is distributed equally between people of all genders, "starts with questioning the ways we essentialize men, and even challenging the complicity of some cisgendered white women in maintaining gender inequality regimes. As a Black, nonbinary femme, I know my positionality is needed, particularly in spaces that have previously never even conceptualized my existence (even in some queer spaces!).!"


We would like to thank Miguel Wilson for contributing to IN-VISIBLE Academia and wish them all the best for their research.

If you are interested, please find more information about the impact of gender diversity in start-ups, check out Miguel's thesis project or message them via LinkedIn.



 

IN-VISIBLE ACADEMIA - Gender Studies Put Into Practice


This feature is part of IN-VISIBLE ACADEMIA, a platform for research from the fields of Gender Studies, with the goal to make it more visible and accessible to a broader public. The goal is to help Gender Studies research gain more visibility and thereby to build awareness about its meaning and relevance for society. We thus hope to provide alternative content to the anti-feminist hate speech and backlash that is increasingly associated with Gender Studies on social media.


Gender Researchers For Diversity In The Workplace


You can participate here. This project is run by IN-VISIBLE and MARGHERITA-VON-BRENTANO-ZENTRUM. For us, it is of secondary importance whether you are a professor, research assistant, or doing post-doc research - we are interested in your research if you feel like your results should be made more available to a broader public. We explicitly do not want to exclude anyone on the basis of their academic degree. The only criteria here is that you have had some sort of publication success with your topic and that, accordingly, our community could peek into it. If this applies to you, then you are welcome to participate. The incoming applications will be viewed by us and - if suitable - shared via our LinkedIn and Instagram in the form of features.








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