itb-nz logo
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.”

Link image
Forget outages - here's how cloud-scale server monitoring can save your business
Whether you run Linux, Windows, Azure, AWS, or your internal network, server monitoring is critical to keeping your platforms in top condition.More
Download image
The three essentials of authentication, according to RSA
Pervasiveness, connectivity, and continuity: Without them, you may as well leave your organisation's front door wide open.More
Link image
A new SASE approach with teeth
Harness firewalling, web content inspection, malware scanning, URL filtering and more with a converged SASE approach - and ensure attackers are consistently stopped in their tracks.More
Story image
Cloud breaches set to increase in velocity and scale - Accurics
“While the adoption of cloud native infrastructure such as containers, serverless, and servicemesh is fuelling innovation, misconfigurations are becoming commonplace and creating serious risk exposure for organisations."More
Link image
Key considerations for your next HCM decision
Finding the right HCM technology provider to help your organisation drive productivity, stay ahead of the compliance curve and deliver AI-driven insights can be difficult. Learn how to make the right choice for your business.More
Story image
Banking and securities IT spending down, Gartner forecasts 2021 rebound
“With a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19, banks and securities firms are now accelerating automation initiatives, such as customer-facing chatbots, robotic process automation (RPA) and end-to-end account origination solutions."More