A Thought for Women’s Day: Lucky, and Thanks to the Web

The internet has brought women another quantum leap forward — the web doesn’t stare at your ass

I often think how incredibly lucky I am to be born a woman at this time in this country at this particular juncture in history.

Had I been born at another time — say any time in recorded human history before 1900 or so, or in a less open society instead of the United States (I’m thinking Afghanistan, Dubai, Mexico, Japan) — I undoubtedly would have ended up in jail or a mental institution, if not six feet under.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that women in America have epic freedom compared to just about anywhere, anytime. Forget the sexual revolution, which has yet to arrive in many parts of the world; sexual slavery, female incision, physical abuse and honor killings are still a fact of life in far too many corners of the planet.

And yet it’s taken me even longer to admit — meritocrat to the core as I am — that women in America still have to try harder to get noticed. We still work longer, for less pay.

The internet has brought women another quantum leap forward. The web is gender-blind. The web doesn’t stare at your ass.

What I mean is, the barriers to entry for a business — or any idea, really — are as open to women as they are to men.

This has dawned on me slowly, as I’ve advanced step by step in building TheWrap. There are so many women entrepreneurs on the web — in media, such as Arianna Huffington, among others — but in other incredible businesses like Gilt Group, founded by two best girlfriends from Harvard, Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilson, or RenttheRunway, or Birchbox founder Katia Beauchamp (started the company a few months out of business school).

This reality even manifested itself in the revolution in Egypt, where women had an unexpectedly present and prominent role in achieving change, and where the seeds of change planted in Facebook groups were open to all sexes.

And what about that firebrand Mona el-Tahawy (pictured), queen of the revolutionary Tweet? We never heard of her two months ago. Now she’s everywhere, fomenting freedom, and opening a big, unapologetic mouth about tyranny and the need for democracy.

So on this International Women’s Day, a moment of gratitude for the change that our era has brought, and how the internet has turbo-charged progress for women.