When a company’s environment is dominated by males, women typically feel like there’s only one seat at the table, according to Bumble CEO and Founder Whitney Wolfe-Herd. They think they have to compete for that one female seat, rather than working towards opening more seats for multiple women. Then, the misogynistic behavior isn’t just man-to-woman it’s woman-to-woman.
“I remember feeling at times ‘Oh my gosh, I have to protect my spot’,” said Wolfe-Herd at SXSW on March 10. But soon she realized the mistake and shifted her approach to be more inclusive. “Feeling threatened by women, that’s such a backwards way of approaching it.”
This is when Wolfe-Herd focused on creating Bumble, a female-friendly dating, BFF and networking app that has changed the rules of the game in a “female-forward way” and encourages women to make the first move and ask for what they want.
“I wanted to build the female internet,” she said. “If I want to make the first move, I want to go after something in my life, I should be able to do that without shame, guilt or blame.”
Wolfe-Herd left Tinder after alleging sexual harassment and discrimination to being named Forbes 30 Under 30. Since then, she said, it’s been a long four years and she offered advice to her younger-self and other girls who follow.
“As long as you know that you’re doing the right thing, do not care about what other people think about you,” she said. “I was paralyzed for so long by people’s opinions. I would be devastated to the point where I didn’t know if I could make it through the day.”
Bumble is currently building the society people wish they had in real life, she said. The company has banned app users who show any behavior they see as misogynistic, abusive or disrespectful.
Bumble is for everyone and is available for both iOS and Android. It is free to download, but has a few optional premium features such as Bumble Boost and Bumble Coins, which unlocks added features, that require a subscription.
Wolfe-Herd has many plans for Bumble and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.
“I want to go to every corner of the Earth where women are and make sure that every single woman on this planet knows that you should make the first move, it’s OK to make the first move,” she said. “They are equal and they should be empowered.”
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