International Women's Day: Delivering on Our Promises

By Isabelle Freidheim, Founder & Chairman of Athena SPACs

In America, we pride ourselves on aspirational thinking. We talk about equal opportunity. Still, while women are half the population, we make up less than a third of Congress and Fortune 500 corporate boards. This imbalance is firmly entrenched in investment banking, venture capital, private equity, the hedge fund community, and access to capital. 

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I am driven by the opportunity to contribute to women's strides in the global capital markets as the founder of Athena, an entirely female-led SPAC network. Female-led is still considered unique. Together, with a powerhouse roster of diverse and accomplished women, we are working to change this.

I am a venture capitalist and entrepreneur by trade. When I began looking at SPACs, I found none were led by women. Only 15% of American venture capital partners are women; fewer than 30% of CEOs and managing directors are women; 32% of board members of the 100 largest companies are women; and only 5% of fintech CEOs are women globally. In fact, the U.S. ranks behind 19 other countries in providing women with chances of equal treatment at work, according to The Economist. We don’t need to do a lot of analysis to acknowledge the disparity between the experience of women and their place in the halls of wealth and power creation. 

As a diverse group of immigrant women, Athena’s members appreciate the American dream. All of us embrace our responsibility to accelerate the progress that trailblazing women who preceded us created. We will define our legacies by delivering on the promise of opportunities for our daughters.

Today is a day to establish a checkpoint in our progress toward delivering on that promise, while recognizing the value of gender equality. Legendary women have paved the way for so much that we often take for granted. However, we are all in an enviable position to continue to contribute to our shared history. Today, we can wave a banner of encouragement, and together commit to doing so much more.

Isabelle Freidheim is the Founder of The Board of Athena Technology Acquisition Corp., Athena Consumer Acquisition Corp., Chairman and CEO of Athena Technology II, Venture capitalist and 2x FinTech founder

Athena is a network of special purpose acquisition companies led entirely by women who are seasoned executives and operators.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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