HolidayBuyer's Guide

Hey Mitchell Baker--Silicon Valley needs women!

A San Francisco group called the Women's Technology Cluster (WTC), which describes itself as "the pre-eminent business incubator dedicated to women leaders building technology-driven businesses," on May 25 honored four VCs for doling out the most cash to businesses led by women in 2003 (the most recent year for which data is available).

And the envelope please: Heidi Roizen of Mobius Venture Capital, Stewart Alsop of New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Dan Eilers of Vanguard Ventures and Beckie Robertson of Versant Ventures all walked off with honors, along with an earful of keynotes from VantagePoint Venture Partners' Cynthia Ringo and the Mozilla Foundation's Mitchell Baker.

Stats from the WTC: "Eighty-three women CEOs raised nearly $800 million in venture funding in 2003. Over 700 venture-backed companies (or 38 percent) funded in 2003 had at least one woman in a leadership role."

When you hear numbers like that, you can almost hear the glass ceiling shatter. But Mozilla's Baker reports encountering some feminist fire after her keynote.

"After the formal program ended one of the women from the Women's Technology Cluster challenged me to take personal responsibility for the low percentage of woman hackers in the Mozilla project," Baker wrote in her blog. "I refused, saying I would take responsibility with her, and the rest of our society for this problem, but wasn't willing to take additional personal responsibility. We have not yet begun trying to direct the nature of the community that develops around Mozilla beyond our nascent international efforts. It would be interesting to hear whether other people think I'm more responsible than most for the low percentage of Mozilla Foundation employees and key volunteers who are women."

Suggestion: WTC should host its next awards ceremony at Harvard.