InHerSight Brings Women To The Forefront Of The Workplace

InHerSight CEO Ursula Mead came up with the idea for her startup, which rates employers by their female-friendliness, when she was working in a male-dominated field. (Photo by Joanne S. Lawton)

Have you ever wondered how women-friendly your prospective employer is? What about how the job you’re currently at stacks up to others on that score?

Durham’s InHerSight is designed specifically to answer those questions. InHerSight gives women (and men) the opportunity to anonymously rank their workplace to determine how female-friendly it is, which is invaluable information especially to women who are looking for a new job—or just thinking about it.

The need for InHerSight, founded by UNC grad Ursula Mead, can be underscored by just a few recent facts about our current work environments. Consider that only 12 percent of private sector employers offered paid maternity leave. Just 10 percent of companies offered daily work-schedule flexibility. And just 4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs were women.

This website provides future employees, specifically women, the chance to learn about the work culture and some of the pros (and cons) before they get there. There are also jobs posted on InHerSight for companies that have been rated. For more extensive job listings or other chances to showcase their brand, companies must become paid members of the site.

Mead launched the company in 2014 and now has over 23,000 companies ranked on the website and close to 700,000 active users.

“I envisioned a kind of TripAdvisor or Glassdoor for women to help them find the right companies,” Mead said. “After about a year of Google searches for company review sites for women that came up empty, I decided to build it myself.”

Since the platform’s rating system is modeled on sites like TripAdvisor and Amazon, it has an algorithm that aggregates user-generated data to guide users toward an optimal experience.

InHerSight has raised about $5M in total funding to date, with significant support from Motley Fool Ventures. The company recently closed a round of $3.25M that included $565K from the Carolina Angel Network, a UNC-affiliated angel group.

A sample company rating on the InHerSight platform.

Employees evaluate their employer’s environment for women across three main areas that employers can support women: career, family and personal growth. The 16 total rating metrics range from ‘Maternity and Adoptive Leave’ to ‘Female Representation in Leadership.’

The top three must-haves for women? Paid time off, salary satisfaction and great co-workers.

The factors were chosen through academic research, in addition to testing and feedback from women and companies about what data is most useful to them, Mead said.

“A ‘good’ company for women can mean a lot of different things,” Mead said. “I’ve seen that what we want isn’t one perfect policy or one model company, it’s the opportunity to find workplaces where each of us has the best chance to thrive.”

The companies rated are not limited to one specific niche, but range across various employers from deli shops to management consulting firms.

Raters are also able to leave anonymous free-form comments as well which provide viewers with a more colorful and holistic perspective. InHerSight does not currently verify that users work at a particular employer, which allows them to stay anonymous but can also potentially raise concerns about the validity of reviews.

However, InHerSight takes measures and precautions to present the most accurate picture possible of what women are experiencing at a company, Mead said. “We also have community guidelines around what is and is not acceptable in the comments to determine whether a review is allowed on the site.”

Since more men are advocating for workplace-equality, InHerSight has also welcomed men’s input on the site.

Rating companies on InHerSight takes less than two minutes and has the potential to impact the lives and careers of 74 million working women employed in the United States.

“Our space is heating up—$34 million has gone into four players in the space in the past six months,” Mead said. “I would call that a market validation; we are onto something. Given our unique data set, our user growth, etc., we will win here. Our plans for the next 12 months are to push on user growth and engagement and to raise to ensure we have the capital we need to succeed.”