Score: Men 97, Women 3

Men entrepreneurs still receive almost all the venture capital. What will it take for women to catch up?

By Katharine Mieszkowski - Janelle Brown
July 19, 2000 11:15PM (UTC)
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The more things change, the more they stay the same. On Tuesday, the National Foundation of Women Business Owners, in conjunction with Wells Fargo, released a new study showing that women entrepreneurs receive only 2.3 percent of all venture capital investment dollars.

This, despite the fact that women-owned firms make up 38 percent of all businesses in the United States, a total of 9.1 million companies. Of course, many women start businesses that are smaller in scope, and don't ever seek venture capital; but the financing disparity between men- and women-owned firms is still dismaying. At a time when Carly Fiorina could take the helm of Hewlett-Packard while proclaiming that there's no glass ceiling and when entire conferences are dedicated to bringing women entrepreneurs in front of VCs, you'd think that the gap would be narrowing.

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For all its claims about creating the future, the technology industry is remarkably status quo when it comes to the way it perceives women. Only nine of the 100 highest-paid executives in Silicon Valley are women, although the number continues to rise. And one of the only arenas in the industry where large numbers of women wield real power is in the much-maligned public relations field.

You may have heard all this before, but it bears repeating. Venture capitalists often jest that they'd fund a Martian if they liked its business plan. It's hard to believe that an industry that has funded a pack of pet portals can't find more women with good business plans.


Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown is a contributing writer for Salon.

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