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A comfortable place of business

Women's workplace confidence sure has surged since the 1980s, when girding for business often meant donning a masculine-looking suit, complete with floppy bow tie, and trying to fit in.

Now, in sleek garb and chunky heels, they're kicking down the doors of venture capitalists, pitching their own best ideas, and filling new niches they've identified.

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Talk about a power shift.

As our lead story explains, it's being played out on the Web.

Throughout the '90s, women embraced several approaches. There was the stay-at-home movement - a backlash, really - led by women tired of being told that running a household somehow didn't qualify as meaningful work.

There was a push by others who'd decided to keep mixing it up with the "old boys" down at the office - only on their own terms.

And a bold new effort by more women willing to try (as some men do now) to strike a balance.

Where it all led: Individuals of both genders now finally feel entitled to choose from among those work options. To take control.

In a newspaper interview last week, gender-issues specialist Shere Hite described talking to a group of mid-20s female MBA students at England's Cambridge University.

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When Ms. Hite asked how many of the students aspired to be chief executive officers of major corporations, a few hands tentatively went up. When she asked how many wanted to run their own businesses, the women all raised their hands.

The Internet has become the place to make that happen. Business on the Web was built fast, from the ground up, without a lot of old-organization flaws. And no glass ceiling was installed.

*Reach us at work@csps.com

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society