Toronto Culture Best Worldwide for Female Entrepreneurs
Rankings created by Dell and IHS put Toronto ahead of San Francisco and NYC in terms of support for women in tech.

Toronto has the most female entrepreneur-focused culture in the world, according to a study by the Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index.

The survey, released at the White House’s Global Entrepreneurship Summit, measured 50 world cities and ranked 25. For culture, the criteria included:

  • Female entrepreneur role models
  • Networking groups
  • Social and print media on women entrepreneurs
  • Policies around equal pay and hiring
  • Paid maternity and paternity leave

The methodology explains how and why the decision was made.

A city’s culture, while less tangible, is believed by women entrepreneurs to be a critical enabler for their participation in commerce… [we measure] the prevalence of relevant mentors, networks, and role models, and the predominant attitudes and expectations of that community toward women entrepreneurs.

Overall Ranking Lags

Canada’s biggest city fared less well in the overall ranking on the status of women in technology. Toronto ranked sixth, taking into account factors including access to capital and talent availability.

The overall ranking means more work needs to be done, given the emphasis that federal and provincial Canadian governments place on workplace diversity.

In Toronto, 19 percent of startups had female founders and 25 percent had female employees, compared with averages of 24 percent and 29 percent, respectively, for Silicon Valley.

Jim Diffley, a senior director at one of the study’s backers, research firm IHS, told Fast Company that a whole new set of metrics had to be created to produce the ranking:

“This is not something that has been done before,” Diffley said.

Top 10 cities for female-friendly culture

  1. Toronto
  2. New York
  3. Sydney
  4. Munich
  5. Singapore
  6. London
  7. San Francisco Bay Area
  8. Paris
  9. Stockholm
  10. Sao Paulo

Cover image contains icons licensed under Creative Commons 3.0, by Gerald Wildmouser