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Women Speakers at Technology Conferences

Posted: December 12th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: business, Conferences, feminism | No Comments »

Lately I’ve been paying close attention to just who I’m paying attention to when I go to a tech conference (academic or industry). Places like SXSW are pretty good about gender balance, but others will have panel after panel of white dudes, or at least four white dudes and a white woman.

I was perusing Glenda Bautista‘s blog this morning when I found an old post on a web strategy blog listing Asian/Asian-American potential conference speakers, which I think is a terrific idea.

A list of potential female tech speakers would be a very long list. But while I can think of several female startup heads (Mary Hodder, Dina Kaplan, Gina Bianchini, etc.), generally it’s the young male CEO/CTO/COO’s who land on panel after panel and demo after demo. A recent demo session I went to had 25 companies presenting and not a single woman.

The hand-wringing over “Women in Tech” isn’t the point: there are plenty of women in technology already, and there needs to be a more proactive effort to include them on lists, conferences, panels, et cetera. This is the opposite of tokenism; instead, it’s an attempt to replace the friend-of-friend attitude that has dudes organizing conferences and booking their dude friends on panels. The more visible women in technology, the more younger women will see technology as a space for them.

So: Do we need a list?

(Note that there’s something totally wackadoodle about this blog lately, technically; I’ve been meaning to devote an afternoon to un-gunking it and haven’t had the free time yet. I apologize for the continued broken comments, etc.)



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