During Inspirefest 2015, five powerful players in the areas of technology and investment came together for a frank discussion on the gender imbalance that exists in the business and technology fields, and how this imbalance can be addressed.

The panelists spoke about unconscious bias and plain old sexism, with Kara Swisher – the panel moderator – talking about the lies those in the industry tell themselves to explain away the lack of diversity in their boardrooms.

Adam Quinton, founder and CEO of Lucas Point Ventures, described Silicon Valley as less of a meritocracy than a mirror-ocracy, saying that those in the typically male-dominated industry like to work with people who look like them, i.e., white and male.

Sharon Vosmek, CEO of Astia, highlighted the rather troubling fact that attractive men find it easier to get funded for research at MIT than attractive women do.

All agreed with Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, who said that funding women is important, not just for equality’s sake, but because we need more good businesses.