Women Out of the Loop in Silicon Valley
Women own 40 percent of the private businesses in the United States, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. But they create only 8 percent of the venture-backed tech start-ups, according to Astia, a nonprofit group that advises female entrepreneurs.
That disparity reaches beyond entrepreneurs. Women account for just 6 percent of the chief executives of the top 100 tech companies, and 22 percent of the software engineers at tech companies over all, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. And among venture capitalists, the population of financiers who control the purse strings for a majority of tech start-ups, just 14 percent are women, the National Venture Capital Association says.
That reality is even more complex when race is factored into the mix. Small percentages of workers in information technology are African-American, Asian or Hispanic, and that number is even smaller for women.
WOMEN now outnumber men at elite colleges, law schools, medical schools and in the overall work force. Yet a stark imbalance of the sexes persists in the high-tech world, where change typically happens at breakneck speed.
The latest Web start-ups — for socializing, gaming and shopping — often attract more women than men as users. And many products from tech giants are aimed at women. But when Apple unveiled its new mobile computing device, it called it the iPad — a name that made many women wince with visions of feminine hygiene products.