While women remain seriously under-represented in the venture capital industry, there has been steady growth in the number of women in lead partner positions and VC deals led by women, according to the new Pregin report on Women in Venture Capital.

The report notes that women represent a “mere 21 percent of all venture capital employees,” with most, 36 percent in junior level positions. Another 29 percent are in mid-level positions and only 11 percent hold senior positions.

The number of female board members is even smaller. Just 6 percent of all VC board members are women.

The report points out, however, that since 2010, there has been steady growth in both the number of women in lead partner positions and the aggregate size of VC deals led by women.

In 2017, women acted in 83 more deals as lead partners with more than $2 billion more in deal values, than in 2016. In North America, women-owned firms completed 366 investments totaling more than $4.6 billion.

Most active in software, Internet, telecom

Female deal-makers are active in many industries, but the largest number of deals by women-owned firms in 2017 was in software (25 percent), the Internet (22 percent) and telecom (15 percent).

A number of VC firms are taking pro-active measures to be more inclusive and promote diversity. While not mentioned in the Pregin report, Durham’s American Underground at Main plans to emphasize diversity with an emphasis on women founders and leaders in the coming year, it has said.

The high tech music, culture and science Durham-based event, Moogfest, is also focusing on women creators and diversity.

Outside of the area, the report cites Xfactor Ventures, a pre-seed and seed stage fund that was created to help make a difference to next generation female-led businesses. It has eight female founders, nine female investment partners, and plans to invest $3 million in 30 female-led companies over the next several years.

BBG Ventures, founded by Susan Lyne, is an early stage fund focused on investments in tech firms with at least one female founder. It is backed by AOL’s #BuiltbyGirls initiative. It offers online and offline programs to help young women learn the fundamentals of venture capital and technology. BBG has made 30 investments in women-led firms.

Sexual misconduct addressed

Recent allegations of sexual misconduct in the VC industry has also brought attention to that issue. Some VC’s have issued a “call to action.” LinkedIn co-founder and Graylock Partner Reid Hoffman suggested that the industry adopt a set of moral guidelines he called a “decency pledge.”

Many firms adopted the pledge, including Sequoia Capital, Northwest Venture Partners, First Round Capital, and General Catalyst Partners.

The Pledge says that when VCs engage with entrepreneurs, they have the same moral position toward them as a manager to an employee or college professor to a student. If business relationships are underway, romantic ones must be forfeited.

The report says one example of the pledge in action is Y Combinator’s long-standing tracking of investors with a history of poor conduct within its network, sometimes called the “Silicon Valley blacklist.”