Skip to content

In Macho Buyout Industry, Women Are Raising Their Own Funds

The founders of four private equity firms talk about why they took an entrepreneurial path.


The finance industry says it wants more diversity at all levels, but private equity has proved stubbornly slow to change. Women made up about 12.7% of senior employees at North American private equity funds last year, less than half the finance industry average, according to research by Preqin and McKinsey & Co. Even with junior levels close to gender parity, data show that few women move up the ranks. Firms are often tightly held partnerships with senior managers who oversee fund life cycles that can last more than a decade.

One way around that is to start a fund company. Women and people from minority groups owned a record 627 US-based private equity and venture capital firms at the end of 2021, up from 502 companies a year earlier, according to Fairview Capital Partners Inc., an investment group that allocates funds to diverse managers. Most of these firms are too young to have generated meaningful performance data, and there are few if any organizations tracking the funds globally.