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​The enduring Silicon Valley gender gap

Journalist Jodi Kantor examines gender gap in... 04:36

Despite a workforce recovery after the 2000 dot-com bust, there is a smaller percentage of women working in Silicon Valley today than there was in 1998. New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor sat down on "CBS This Morning" to talk about her new article, "A Brand New World in Which Men Ruled," and why women are still underrepresented in tech.

To explore the imbalance, Kantor tracked the graduates of Stanford University's groundbreaking class of 1994.

"In the history of American education, there are not too many classes who had this kind of luck and magical timing. They literally graduated when and where the Internet was being created," Kantor said.

Many became tech titans and made a lot of money, she continued, "but it's not just that, it's that they invented a lot of technologies that you and I use every single day."

The new world of tech "was supposed to topple old conventions," Kantor said. "Yet when we look at the technology industry today, which is probably the most dynamic and creative industry in America, we just don't see a lot of women."

So if the Internet was supposed to be the great equalizer, then what happened?

Part of it, Kantor explained, is that many of the women in the class of '94 ended up going into medicine rather than technology. It was safer than founding a startup -- "Back then, tech was much riskier than today" -- and at the time it was still extraordinary for a woman to get a scientific degree from such a prestigious university and use that as a jumping off point for med school.

Rent the Runway: An inside look at the tech s... 05:00

Plus, there was a high degree of homogeneity among the groups who decided to go the startup route. As Kantor found, people not just of the same gender, but also of the same race tended to take the risk together.

She told the story of the first woman to join PayPal, as an office assistant, who was asked by one of the engineers, "Does this mean I can't look at porn anymore in the office?"

The poster woman for the story, Stella & Dot founder Jessica Herrin, said that she never tried to sit at the boys' table in school. And indeed, Kantor pointed out, many of the tech successes started by women have been in more female-focused business, such as jewelry, in the case of Stella & Dot, and fashion, as exemplified by Rent the Runway.

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