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Women Who Think Differently
By Kendra Mayfield
2:00 a.m. April 24, 2001 PDT
Julie Wainwright, CEO of Pets.com, rose to fame when her company's
sock puppet became a sensation.
When Carly Fiorina was named CEO of Hewlett-Packard, her name glossed
the pages of industry magazines worldwide.
Last year, the nonprofit San Francisco Women on the Web chose Fiorina
and Wainwright as two of their high-profile Top 25 Women on the Web.
But after a tumultuous year of dot-com shakeouts, the names topping
this year's list aren't just CEOs and Internet celebrities, but
behind-the-scenes designers, producers, activists, educators and
This year's winners, who will be awarded at a gala Tuesday night,
include a diverse group of women who are changing the landscape of how
the Web is used.
The Top 25 winners are ... Monika Henzinger, Karan Eriksson, Tracy
Wilen, Katharine Mieszkowski, Jayne Cravens, Sharron Rush, Joan
Korenman, Mari Matsunaga, Ardith Ibanez Rigby, Bonnie Bracey, Barbara
Simons, Tiffany Shlain, Ruann Ernst, Ann Navarro, Louise Kirkbride,
Carol Muller, Netochka Nezvanova, Patricia Beckmann, Janette Bradley,
Mala Chandra, Tracey Pettengill, Roberta Furger, Evelyn Pine, Mie-Yun
Lee and Doreen Galli.
The awards recognize the work of programmers such as Mala Chandra, VP
of platform engineering for Zaplet; Web activist Evelyn Pine; and
Ardith Ibanez Rigby, creative director of Web design studio Akimbo
"We've gone from sock puppets to using the Web to improve how we live
or work," said Janette Bradley, director and executive producer of
"It's about accountability now, it's not about hype," said Bradley,
who launched her engineering and design career "long before the Web
While other more high-profile executives were praised last year,
Bradley's efforts to build Internet infrastructure went largely
unnoticed. Now that the dot-com hype is diminishing, people are paying
Like many of the other award winners, Bradley has faced many hurdles
while trying to establish a career in technology. She was told she
couldn't join the high school computer club because she was a girl,
and she was one of only two women in her engineering school class.
Women have made strides in impacting technology since the awards began
in 1998, and in fact as many women are using the Internet as men.
A recent survey of women living in Silicon Valley, conducted by
Collaborative Economics and Community Foundation Silicon Valley, found
that more than half of the 826 respondents work in technology-related
"The Internet has opened a lot of doors for women," said Lara Thurman,
executive director of SFWoW.
Thurman hopes for the day when women's contributions to the Internet
will be so extensive that they won't need to be singled out in an
"I think that might be a great goal," Thurman said.
However, while more women are working in technology, the top spots
continue to go to men. Although women comprise nearly 40 percent of
managers in Silicon Valley's private sector, they make up only 6
percent of senior executives at the largest 150 public companies,
according to the survey.
"Women still hold fewer top management positions than men do," said
Louise Kirkbride, CEO of Broad Daylight. "But it's not as bad as it
used to be."
"It's great to see more women engineers," Kirkbride said. "But it's
wonderful seeing more women salespeople (because that's where the top
The study found that women in technology are nearly twice as likely as
women in other professions to believe that their gender is a
significant barrier to advancement. Balancing work with personal and
family responsibilities was women's No. 1 source of stress.
Some women fear that the current market shakeout will make it harder
for women new to the industry to advance. "There's going to be a pull
back now," Bradley said. "There will continue to be a gap."
Bradley believes that it's incumbent upon women working in technology
to make a point of interviewing, hiring and mentoring other women for
technical and management roles.
"The No. 1 thing is that every woman in this field has to see
themselves as a role model," Bradley said.
Related Wired Links:
Wanted: Minority Women in Tech
Feb. 26, 2001
Computing the Geek Gender Gap
Jan. 25, 2001
Building the Digital Systerhood
Feb. 15, 2000
Taking IT to the Streets
Feb. 7, 2000
Women Geeks Honor Their Own
Feb. 1, 2000
25 Women 'WoW' San Francisco
Dec. 8, 1998
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