There is a lot of work to be done to make workplaces equitable.

At a talk at TechfestNW in April, Amy Nelson, founder of women-run coworking company The Riveter, Aileen Lee, founder of venture capital firm Cowboy Ventures, and Jessi Duley, founder of Portland-based spin studio BurnCycle, talked about how to build more inclusive companies.

Nelson, who was a lawyer for a decade before founding her company, said she was pushed to explore "where women fit in the workplace," when she became pregnant with her first daughter.

"I felt like when I told my colleagues I was pregnant, there was an immediate change in the perspective and perception of me, even though I didn't have that about myself," Nelson said. "I would get questions like, 'So, you're pregnant, are you going to want to go to this trial?' And I was like, 'Of course I want to go. That's the only fun part of being a lawyer.'"

Nelson said she started exploring why there weren't more communities for women who were building businesses, which is why she decided to found The Riveter.

"I started talking to a lot of women who were starting businesses and learned that there wasn't really a community in real life for women where they could find resources and connections and work with men," Nelson said.

Since its founding, The Riveter has received a lot of national attention—from the Today Show, the Washington Post, Inc. and Forbes.

"From building that platform what I've realized is that the most powerful thing I can do is pass the mic to people who have less power or less platform than I do," Nelson said. "I have privilege sitting in this seat. So I can share it with other women; women of color; with people in the transgender community. I'm not sharing their stories. I'm handing the microphone to other people to tell their stories."

The other thing The Riveter aims to do, Nelson said, is build a women-run space that is inclusive of everyone.

"There are still more Fortune 500 CEOs today named John than there are women CEOs," she said. "We have to change that."

Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures, added that the venture industry is only eight percent women partners and that "70 percent of U.S.-based venture firms have not a single female investment partner on their team."

"Your venture partners, they're supposed to be experienced, great advisors, coaches—it's almost like university professors," she said. "Imagine, in 2019, if 70 percent of U.S. universities had not a single female professor. Would you want to go to that school?"