09/14/2011 03:55 pm ET | Updated Nov 14, 2011

Breaking the Venture Ceiling

An important gathering is coming to NYC this week -- Women in Enterprise (WIE). The WIE symposium is driven by Sarah Brown, Arianna Huffington and Donna Karan and features 400 women leaders.

Despite advances made in the last forty years, there are still far too few women in positions of leadership. In my own world of tech startups this is certainly the case. If you examine the ranks of venture capital firms, you are hard pressed to find more than a dozen female partners at the top firms. Firms such as Starvest and others were formed as women-focused partnerships in part to address this imbalance. Deborah Farrington of Starvest recently wrote about ways to increase the number of women in venture firms.

At the seed stage, the overwhelming majority of angel investors are men. Golden Seeds is an angel group in SF, NYC and other cities dedicated to women funding women entrepreneurs to help address this imbalance.

The good news is that more women are co-founding companies and joining the senior ranks of maturing startups. Google and Facebook both have senior female execs. Meg Whitman successfully ran eBay and now joined Kleiner Perkins as a partner. While Carol Bartz was ousted from Yahoo, she did run Autodesk successfully for many years.

The WIE conference comes at a critical point for women in leadership, and I hope it can encourage more women to join the top ranks of startups, angel groups and venture firms.

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