David Streitfeld, writing in the New York Times about a sexual discrimination lawsuit brought by a female partner at a distinguished Silicon Valley Venture Capital firm, has caused an avalanche of comment with the opening words of his article:
MEN invented the Internet. And not just any men. Men with pocket protectors. Men who idolized Mr. Spock and cried when Steve Jobs died. Nerds. Geeks. Give them their due. Without men, we would never know what our friends were doing five minutes ago.
But are these men trapped in the past even as they create the future? more
Well, that got tech feminist Xeni Jardin from boing boing riled up and she responded in a rant that was amplified by the LA Times . Her conclusion? ‘ “Men are credited with inventing the internet.” There. Fixed it for you.’
Reading the stories, you’d still have to say that most of the people who contributed to the invention of the internet were men, but you certainly discover a some of the interesting women involved in the research that lead to its emergence.
The actual story that Streitfeld was covering ended up taking a backseat to the controversy over his faux pas, but it is about the male-dominated culture of Silicon Valley, which is interesting in itself, so stay tuned for how the actual case unfolds and what is revealed.