Despite lip service, Silicon Valley venture capital still a man’s world

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Sheri Atwood, founder and CEO of SupportPay, talks with her daughter Janicya, 10, during an interview with Reuters in Redwood City

By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – When she started her child-support tracking business SupportPay, Sheri Atwood expected all kinds of suggestions – but not the tip she got from a female investor who suggested she dye her blonde hair darker to be taken more seriously by venture capitalists. To Atwood, who eventually won her funding from other backers, the recommendation underscored an attitude in Silicon Valley that women make second-class entrepreneurs. If more women held the purse strings at venture capital firms, the attitude would change, she said. Despite the lip service Silicon Valley has given over the past couple of years to the need to recruit more women venture capitalists, at senior levels the industry’s gender balance hasn’t budged, even as other industries with poor gender diversity show improvements.


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