Chloe, at this point 15 of the 26 followers of this thread are male, as best i can tell from first names. That is a good indication that men are interested in being part of the solution - don't shy away from educating us. i was not going to post a comment here given your question was directed to fellow 'female founders', but i'm not good at sitting on the sidelines... and i felt directing the question only to women was a bit like asking only white, Americans how to address racism. So, don't wait for an invitation.
As much as i'd like to think i'm 'enlightened' (as i don't recall having been called out for a covert or overtly sexist comment/act) i could certainly be clueless and not know it (as you reference above). Whether the issue is sexism, racism, culture-ism, or any other ism, it's not likely to get fixed if you don't take ownership for fixing it - easier said than done i realize, but on balance i say call it out. How? that depends on the culprit and your people skills. Many just aren't worth the effort. Entrepreneurship isn't for the faint of heart. All of the above suggestions including "call it out", "educate" and "ignore" are all applicable depending on the circumstances. Yes you risk being labeled 'that girl' and you also run the risk of leaving this to your daughters to clean up later. Participate in the conversation. Make yourself a seat at the table. Don't wait for an invitation. start your own conversation/event. Wade into conversations. Entrepreneurs of all stripes appreciate strong participants, especially when they are on their team. I am much more inclined to consider a partnership with, working with or teaming with someone with sharp people instincts, well-honed instincts as to when to use sharp elbows, and polished people skills than i am someone who accepts a seat at the kid's table. On the other hand i'm likely to treat any woman or man who "uses sexism to their advantage" as, well, someone trying to use sexism to their advantage.
It's also important to participate in diverse boards and teams. I coach my 2 daughters to be strong, competent and confident, but to also realize that men and women have differences - thank god! if men and women all looked at issues from the same angle this would be a pretty boring world.
@ Julie, "women and other minorities...
" really? women are 50% of our workforce, earn more than 50% of college degrees and are every bit as competent and capable as any man. Life's too short to accept being treated as anything less. Perhaps considering women as "minorities" is part of the problem.... speaking of covert/overt stereotypes.