The gender divide is as pronounced as ever in the IT industry according to the findings of report released last week by Management Today magazine.

The magazine named the top 25 internet companies, but among the founders of the top two - encryption software maker nCipher and data software maker Orchestream - only three women were listed.

"This is a problem that we are trying to tackle through education, making IT more interesting to girls, but it is a slow process and we hope to see changes over the next 10 years," said a spokesperson at the Department of Trade and Industry.

In fact the number of businesses set up by women over the past 10 years remains at one third, with the number of businesses being run by women also stationary over the last decade at one quarter.

But over the pond, the number of US businesses being run by women has doubled in the past 12 years to 9.1 million.

"Something is not right and that is what we need to pinpoint. In the US, the IT sector is becoming extremely popular with women but is still seeing slow take-up here," said a spokesperson at the Department for Education and Employment. "But attitudes are changing."

But while internet companies are experiencing a dearth of female talent, women are closing the gender gap elsewhere on the net. Which? Online’s annual internet survey found 45 percent of those logging on are women, and internet banks are signing up more female customers than male.