More Women in Tech?

September 16, 2010, In: women & business
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There has been a lot of talk recently about why there are not more women starting technology businesses or working in technology at all. As a recent graduate of TechStars, a business incubation program for web start-ups, I was definitely outnumbered this summer. In fact, out of 11 companies, only two had women on the founding team. That’s 2 women out of 33 participants. Now that’s not TechStars’ fault. In fact, Brad Feld, one of the program’s investors and someone that helps select the final teams is the chairman of National Center for Women & Information Technology [NCWIT]. He has been pretty vocal about why more women are needed in technology.

I was even quoted in Slate about how I never felt out of place at TechStars. The issue is not about community once women choose technology or entrepreneurship, but rather why do women choose different career paths in the first place.

This discussion is not new, but may have been re-ignited by the following article on WSJ.com which talks about a dearth of women in top positions at emerging tech firms. In that article it quotes Fred Wilson, a VC who is also involved with TechStars. He is an advocate for getting more women into the technology field and wonders why his firm only sees about 3% women out of all the pitches in a given year.

The article also caused a bit of a battle between Michael Arrington, senior editor of TechCrunch and Rachel Skylar, Mediaite founding editor. Rachel complained about what she sees as the maleness of TechCrunch Disrupt and Michael retorted with how he thinks the real problem is that not enough women want to become entrepreneurs. Leah Culver, co-founder of Pownce, wrote in TheDailyBeast, “I could keep writing about the lack of women in tech, but starting a new company sounds like a lot more fun.”

Hoping to bridge the gap are business incubators for women like XX-Combinator, that have developed in hopes of attracting women that do not feel compatible with incubators like Y-Combinator. There is also Women 2.0, a pre-incubation program for men and women that hopes to “increase the number of female founders of technology start-ups, by enabling entrepreneurs with a network, resources and knowledge to take your start-up from an idea to launch.”

I think the best part about this discussion is that it is taking place. We need to increase awareness if we plan to have more women in technology and start-ups. So come on ladies, we know we can do it. Now let’s show the rest of the world.

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