Sometimes there are conferences that are specifically about "women in tech." They tend to present positive female role models, encourage discussion about challenges in the field, and work to expand the community of tech. They're not perfect, but people pretty much agree that they're productive. But did you know that there are also conferences for "men in tech"? Apparently there are! AndThe Wall Street Journal is hosting one in October.
WSJDLive is the first conference for The Journal's revamped tech group, and every speaker on the roster so far is male.* The conference is billed as "vibrant" and a place to see "both established and emerging" technologists all in one place.
The WSJDLive website points out that Silicon Valley isn't the only site of rapid and exciting technological advancement anymore: "New entrants from international tech hubs are rapidly driving change in everything from payments to messaging." Except without a diverse mix of panelists, the conference won't be able to foster a fully-formed discussion about changes in tech. People are already calling out WSJDLive:
I have tons of respect for @WSJD and have no doubt that they will put on a great event, but the future of business is not so white and male.--Caroline McCarthy (@caro) April 16, 2014
And I know they know that, and plan to diversify their speaker lineup -- but first impressions mean A LOT.--Caroline McCarthy (@caro) April 16, 2014
Conferences don't need to have a "women in tech" focus to be about gender—WSJDLive has made itself about gender simply by excluding an entire gender. (It's also really white!) This isn't about putting women on these lists to fulfill a minimum quota and avoid criticism—it's about wanting to have women and other diverse voices at these events.
*Correction, April 17, 2014: This post originally misstated that WSJDLive is The Journal's first tech conference. It is the 12th year the conference is taking place, but it is the first year under new management and is therefore being referred to as the "inaugural" conference.
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