9 Female Founders on How They Learned to Celebrate Failure

elle.comNobody likes to fail. But women take failure particularly hard—studies have shown that women are so averse to failure that they don't apply for jobs unless they feel 100 percent qualified. This hesitancy is understandable: When they do fail, women are judged more harshly than their male counterparts. Men, on the other hand, throw veritable failure parties; they're more likely to embrace "What doesn't kill you…" and plow ahead. 

 This week on ELLE.com, we've asked women to share their stories of failure. Not the kind of failure that led to some great business idea—just failure, plain and simple. We hope to shift the narrative about failure (it's okay! it happens!), or, at the very least, chip away at the idea that failure should be shameful or a secret. So here's to failing, loudly and proudly. Read more here.

By now, we all know the uphill climb that women in tech must endure. The statistics—they're bad. And while the numbers have started to improve, the fact remains that women in tech tend to face more sexism, skepticism, and discrimination than men do.

And while examples of women who have triumphed over it all are still too few, it seems everyone has an opinion about female failure. If you're a white dude, congratulations! Odds are you blame failure on external factors, on bad timing, on a market that wasn't quite ready for your genius. If you're a woman, however, failure is trickier.

A 2012 study from Babson College found that fear of failure was the biggest concern of female founders. "Even though women may have more years of education, it may not relate to self-perceived confidence in their entrepreneurial capabilities," said Candida Brush, a professor at Babson and the author of the report. Brush explains that women are still more likely than men to internalize a personal sense of blame for failure, considering it a manifestation of their weaknesses or insecurities.

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