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.”

Protecting data centres from fire – your options
Chubb's Pierre Thorne discusses the countless potential implications of a data centre outage, and how to avoid them.
Opinion: How SD-WAN changes the game for 5G networks
5G/SD-WAN mobile edge computing and network slicing will enable and drive innovative NFV services, according to Kelly Ahuja, CEO, Versa Networks
TYAN unveils new inference-optimised GPU platforms with NVIDIA T4 accelerators
“TYAN servers with NVIDIA T4 GPUs are designed to excel at all accelerated workloads, including machine learning, deep learning, and virtual desktops.”
AMD delivers data center grunt for Google's new game streaming platform
'By combining our gaming DNA and data center technology leadership with a long-standing commitment to open platforms, AMD provides unique technologies and expertise to enable world-class cloud gaming experiences."
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."
365 Data Centers secures additional funding for expansion
The company asserts the financing commitments come as it looks to invest in further substantial internal and external growth.
HPE launches 'right mix' hybrid cloud assessment tool
HPE has launched an ‘industry-first assessment software’ to help businesses work out the right mix of hybrid cloud for their needs.
ADLINK and Charles announce multi-access pole-mounted edge AI solution
The new solution is a compact low profile pole or wall mountable unit based on an integration of ADLINK’s latest AI Edge Server MECS-7210 and Charles’ SC102 Micro Edge Enclosure.