Calling All Ladies– Find Your Tech Niche Your Way

Posted on August 29, 2010

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courtesy of CJSORG

An interesting digital discussion popped up in the last day regarding the lack of women in Silicon Valley. It all started with a Wall Street Journal post examining the fact that only 11 percent of U.S. venture-capital backed firms in 2009 had current or former female CEOs. This isn’t a new hot topic. Conferences have been dogged with finding female keynoters and speakers for years. While I do agree there is an unfortunate shortage of X chromosomes in the tech world, I agree with some of TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington’s points— we shouldn’t be blaming men.

Instead, we must continue to act. If we merely sat idly and blamed men in the early 1900s, we wouldn’t have our right to vote. The female brand is a strong and powerful brand. We’re bullishly targeted by marketers for our invaluable purse strings. And more and more in the advertising world, we’re rising to the rankings we deserve.

It’s an uphill battle. Maybe even more so in the tech world. But, to me, it’s pretty empowering to pave a path among men. Trailblazing tech women are the ones I dream of being one day and I hope I’m not alone. I’m a firm believer in that great innovation is born from adversity. So why wouldn’t we use this discrepancy to our advantage? Take that wasted energy on blaming the current conditions and use it to make change. Finding a mentor or even better, being one, is so incredibly important right now. Mentoring helps seed ideas, bring them to fruition and foster them so that they don’t get lost in a man’s world.

Having recently attended an all-female conference, I’m thrilled at the prospect of TEDWomen, despite the digital furry on gender equality. Sure, it’d be great to have more supportive “Breakfast Clubs” of young and established tech and digital media executives like one spearheaded by Gilt Groupe CEO, Susan Lyne, but even without them, we need to find ways to connect, work together and carry on. As Yuli Ziv, founder of Style Coalition, a network of fashion and lifestyle digital publications, told The Wall Street Journal, “In our generation and in our community, I don’t believe there’s any issue or any disadvantage to women. I don’t think we have any excuses.”

So now, I challenge you, ladies (myself included). Stop blaming and start acting together. Find your tech niche and build your beautiful brand your own way. No excuses.

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