A Web Without Women?

The back-and-forth, between Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell and her very vocal critics over the past week brings to mind something I heard a woman blogger once say when asked why blogging seemed to be dominated by men. Her response, I'm paraphrasing here, was basically that the atmosphere is not conducive to attracting women. She felt that women were targeted for more cruel and personal attacks (from both genders) than men, something that has kept them from jumping into the fray.

It's a generalization, of course, to say that the Web or the blogosphere is dominated by men and their voices, and there are certainly examples of women weighing in on the most contentious issues of the day, on both the left and the right. But in light of the remarks aimed at Howell which caused the Washingtonpost.com to close down its comments section, we can at least ask these questions. Is there a gender gap on the Web? Are women subjected to different kinds of personal attacks and criticism than men? Would the Post's Web site have felt the need to close its comments if a male were under attack? Or is this entire premise just a false attempt at describing some kind of non-existent glass ceiling on the Web? Just asking.