Girls in Tech Debate: A Publicity Hoax?

Posted by Ellie Cachette

Last week a big debate began circling the tech community over women and entrepreneurship. Some said it was still a man’s world while others pointed the finger back at women for not having more female risk-takers. This all a few days after an article titled Is There Anything Good About Men, resurfaced the interwebs, then Michael Arrington in this article proclaimed how TechCrunch goes above and beyond to find women in tech “…we do spend an extraordinary amount of time finding those qualified women and asking them to speak.” It was also noted that half executive staff were woman.  The conclusion of the article went something like: we try to find women in tech, there’s tons of money for them, female entrepreneurs just don’t exist.  Several times it was mentioned how TechCrunch loves to cover women founded companies but the topic was left open “…And when you do start your company, we’ll cover it.  Promise.

There’s a million and a half (okay, more like seven) reasons this article on women in tech had me fired up. Our start-up was in the middle of urgent projects so I found a minute to vent on Facebook:

Several inconsistencies in the article had my blood boiling to respond to this topic but I opted not to.  I didn’t want to  get all girly and emotional about it. Then today a follow-up blog post somehow turns the female debate into a mere gimmick for attracting an audience and produce a series of notes on how to blog? Talk about a bait-and-switch. “In a follow up post I may explain some of the common tricks to manipulate the crowd so you can see through them more easily in the future.” Even the tone regarding covering female subsided,we cover female entrepreneurs whenever we find them.”

As a female founder who has survived stealth and bootstrapping I can say from experience its hard. Its incredibly lonely and stressful and the social implications of a woman’s personal life are disturbed much more than a man’s by being a scrappy and relentless entrepreneur. While I’m learning about revenue models and terms sheets, my friends are having babies.  If you are a lady and have ever missed a baby shower for “work” you know the exact guilt that comes with it. You are that girl.

For the most part I believe that Arrington is right, its just not culturally encouraged for us to take risks. In fact I would say the lack of female entrepreneurs for now has more to do with values two decades ago then current cultural ideals that are being taught to the next generation of business minded ladies. If assuming all of what Arrington said is right (which is possible) and there is this general thirst to collaborate with female entrepreneurs then why has the audience been now diverted to talk about general publicity strategies?  Why not organize an impromptu panel talk?  How is all of a sudden this meaningful topic actually an example of blogging tactics? Maybe its all a dream within a dream and this another test of audience perceptiveness. Or pickledickness.

Whether or not there is a true desire to have a conversation with women about entrepreneurship, switching the topic is a very man thing to do.  As a boyfriend once said to me while I was crying , “Its not my problem you are upset, its yours.”  That’s fine, no more crying I’m going back to my desk to work , no more time to respond to Arrington’s posts, time to keep building and moving forward the way any entrepreneur would… male or female.

Lo importante es el camino que recorremos, las metas son apenas el resultado de ese recorrido. Llegar generalmente significa, volver a empezar!

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Gabriel Catalano

septiembre 2010
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