Story image

Report: Women being sexually harassed at tech conferences

13 Mar 2019

Conferences are a common thing in data centre and IT circles, where vendors show off their wares, experts share their insights, and participants network with their peers.

These tech events are a great place to view a stark example of the industry’s gender imbalance as the sheer majority of those in attendance are male.

Hybrid IT provider Ensono has released its findings from a new research report - Speak up: Bringing more women’s voices to tech conferences - that delves into the issue.

The insights are based on a survey of 500 women across the US and UK who attended a tech conference in their careers, with the goal to garner their experiences and attitudes toward the representation of women at tech events. Ensono also audited three years’ worth of keynote and standalone speaker line-ups from 18 major technology conferences around the world to determine the ratio of women to men.

The inspiration for the study came from Ensono Director of Public Cloud Product Lin Classon’s experience at a tech conference, as she tweeted a picture of an empty women’s restroom, highlighting the lack of women at the event and also the larger issue of the industry’s gender gap.

“The lack of female speakers at industry conferences is a quantifiable picture of how women are underrepresented,” Classon says.

“The industry still has a long way to go, but it’s research like this that provides companies with data and tools to initiate change.”

With the data from the survey in addition to the audit on keynote presentations, Ensono was able to come up with a number of startling findings, including:

  • Only 25 percent of tech conference keynotes in the last three years were women
  • 70 percent of women surveyed who have sat on a panel at a tech conference report being the only woman
  • One in four women have experienced sexual harassment at a tech conference
  • 76 percent of women are more likely to attend a conference with a keynote speaker, panellist or other programming that features a woman
  • There was a five percent increase in the number of female speakers in tech conference lineups from 2016 to 2018

The report also provides recommendations for companies to assume responsibility and commit to concrete, actionable change.

Some of the key strategies suggested include internally promoting speaking opportunities at tech events, building training programs to advance speaking skills, establishing a set of criteria that determines company participation in an event based on its level of inclusivity, and creating an internal code of conduct for off-site events.

“It’s our hope that members of the tech community encourage their companies to take part in this opportunity for change — whether they are a part of senior leadership or just starting their career,” says Ensono CMO Lisa Agona.

“At Ensono, we fully support our female associates and stand with them as we progress toward gender parity in the tech industry.”

How Cognata and NVIDIA enable autonomous vehicle simulation
“Cognata and NVIDIA are creating a robust solution that will efficiently and safely accelerate autonomous vehicles’ market entry."
Kinetica launches a new active analytics platform
"With the platform now powered by NVIDIA DGX-2, customers can build smart analytical applications that combine historical data analytics and ML-powered analytics."
Avi Networks: Using visibility to build trust
Visibility, also referred to as observability, is a core tenet of modern application architectures for basic operation, not just for security.
Zoom’s new Rooms and Meetings features
Zoom has released information about the upcoming releases for its Rooms and Meeting offerings for 2019.
Aussie company set to democratise direct-to-orbit IoT access
Adelaide-based Myriota has released a developer toolkit that has been trialled and tested by a smart waste management platform.
Dynatrace takes pole position in APM Magic Quadrant
It placed highest on Ability to Execute and furthest on Completeness of Vision in the 2019 Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring (APM).
HCL and Xerox expand strategic partnership
Under the terms of the agreement, HCL will manage portions of Xerox’s shared services, including global administrative and support functions.
Inspur announces AI edge computing server with NVIDIA GPUs
“The dynamic nature and rapid expansion of AI workloads require an adaptive and optimised set of hardware, software and services for developers to utilise as they build their own solutions."