Lady Bosses Invent a Fake Male Cofounder to Boost Business -- & It Works!


Even in the year 2017, it's sadly not uncommon for women to be treated differently in the workplace than their male counterparts. Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer, cofounders of Witschy, a marketplace for off-beat art, can attest to experiencing this kind of sexism firsthand. They were often told their ideas were just a "cute hobby," among other patronizing things people would probably never say to a man. So, they conducted an experiment that confronted the blatant sexism head-on: They made up a fake male cofounder to see how people would react to a man named Keith Mann rather than a woman.  


The results were -- as you've probably guessed -- depressing. 

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"It was like night and day," Dwyer told Fast Company about the difference in communication they and Mann received. 

witschy cofounders

While it would take days for Dwyer to get a response, Mann would get not only an immediate response, but a status update and asked if he needed any other assistance. 

They also noticed that one developer would always address Mann by his name, something he never did with Dwyer and Gazin. (Once they received an email that started with, "Okay, girls ...")

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Gazin and Dwyer closed the lid on Mann for now, but the dynamic duo isn't deterred by the results of their social experiment. In fact, the whole ordeal motivates them even more.
"I think we could have gotten pretty bent out of shape about that," said Dwyer. "Wow, are people really going to talk to this imaginary man with more respect than us? But we were like, you know what, this is clearly just part of this world that we're in now. We want this and want to make this happen."
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