Less than 5% of venture capital general partners are women, a percentage that has lingered over the past 20 years, said Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia, who moderated a sparsely attended panel titled “Women: Key Players in High-Growth Investment Strategies” at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif.
It’s a “real struggle,” said Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer of the $191.2 billion California State Teachers’ Retirement System, West Sacramento.
When private equity firm executives meet with CalSTRS officials, there is sometimes one woman in the meeting, Mr. Ailman said. “We have picked and prodded, but it is far too slow,” Mr. Ailman said.
CalSTRS would like to see its managers “diversify away from pale, male and stale,” he said.
Women are also underrepresented on corporate boards in the U.S. Boards might have one woman, but it takes two people to make a motion. “We’ve asked managers to expand their diversity,” Mr. Ailman said.
CalSTRS is also asking private equity firms to bring in more women as part of their investment staff and to give women more opportunity for advancement, he said.
Seema Hingorani, managing director of Seema R. Hingorani Partners, said that when she was CIO of the New York bureau of asset management, overseeing investments at the $163.4 billion New York City Retirement Systems, women at money managers she dealt with were not on the investment side.
“I asked why and they said ‘we don’t get resumes,’” Ms. Hingorani said.