Where Are The Riot Grrls?

The Tech Gap

But is the playing field level? Not exactly. In fact, women and men aren't always playing the same game. New York City entrepreneur Aliza Sherman, 31, who launched the women's Web site Cybergrrl (http://www.cybergrrl.com) in 1995, sees technology as a major dividing line between the sexes.

"We describe our site as `Community, content and resources for women who want to transform their lives through technology,' " says Sherman, whose sales at Cybergrrl Inc. doubled last year. "That's significant, because women are not as [prominent] in the technology business as men are." Yet technology--notably the Net--is precisely where young entrepreneurs are making big bucks in a hurry.

Rimm sees this technological deficit as a wide-ranging challenge--one with its roots set deep in our culture. "It goes back to basic math skills," says Rimm. "Traditionally, girls in our society don't think of themselves as being good at math and science." Yet math and science are the basis for many of today's most lucrative entrepreneurial areas--whether in high-tech, biotech or plain old business. "Without fundamental math skills, it can be very difficult to function in the business world," says Rimm.

Of course, entrepreneurial women--lots of 'em--overcome the math hurdle every day. Some never even feel the stretch. It's just possible that many more women who could be business and technological geniuses never even give it a shot. The result: an inexplicable thinning of the herd. Says Sherman: "I actively seek out other women entrepreneurs my age, but there aren't that many at my level."

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This article was originally published in the December 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Where Are The Riot Grrls?.

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