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Other of Interest 6/6/12

How Women Are Changing the Tech World


How Women Are Changing the Tech World
There has been an emergence of young female tech founders and execs, reflecting sweeping change in the worlds of start-up companies and angel funding. It underscores the enormous purchasing prowess of women online that is transforming the Web economy, as sites that cater to women are run by female-led start-ups fueling innovation.

Reshaping a time-worn narrative isn’t easy. Social revolutions rarely are, especially when you’re a woman trying to break into the boys’ club that is Silicon Valley.

But an emerging class of early-stage tech start-up executives is helping dispel the notion that there isn’t a leading role for them in the male-dominated valley. Company founders and leaders are coming out of Google, Salesforce.com and elsewhere for the excitement of shaping a young business.

The emergence of young female tech founders and executives reflects sweeping change in the worlds of start-up companies and angel funding, where wealthy investors give money in return for a stake in a company. It underscores the enormous purchasing prowess of women online that is transforming the Web economy Relevant Products/Services. As more consumers reach for their smartphones and tablets to shop and communicate, there is a pressing need for commerce sites that cater to women, who control 70% of online purchases worldwide, says Lisa Stone, CEO of BlogHer, a digital media company.

Many of these inroads are being made by female-led start-ups that are fueling innovation and the digital economy. Women will influence the purchase of $15 trillion in goods by 2014, according to Boston Consulting Group.

“Female users are the unsung heroines behind the most engaging, fastest-growing and most valuable consumer Internet and e-commerce Relevant Products/Services companies,” says venture capitalist Aileen Lee. She has invested in Brit, a lifestyle branding company, and Plum District, an e-commerce site for moms, among many ventures led by women.

Make no mistake: The executive suite for business in general and the technology industry specifically remains a male stronghold. Just 3% of all tech start-ups are led by women, according to a Kauffman Foundation report. Only a handful of CEOs at Fortune Relevant Products/Services 500 companies are women. Indeed, the glass ceiling remains a reality for many women, and charges of sexual harassment and sexual discrimination persist. In fact, a recent lawsuit by Ellen Pao, a junior partner at one of the valley’s most prestigious venture funds, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is all the buzz here these days because it exposes the fragile position women hold in the tech world.