Are you a woman who works in tech or want to pursue a career in a STEM field? Wish you knew how to meet other passionate, like-minded women in your field, and grow your career? Well, technology conferences are a great way to network, learn more about your industry, and be inspired by other women killing it in your field.
4 Empowering Technology Conferences for Women
Want to go to a tech conference, but not sure which one or what options are even available? In this article, we’re covering 4 amazing women in tech events you should check out. So, you can learn from female entrepreneurs, connect with industry experts, and grow professionally.
Women in Tech Summit
The Women in Tech Summit (WITS) is one of the premier conferences for women working in technology fields. The conference covers a wide range of tech areas, including cybersecurity, project management, software, and even human resources. It’s also held across a variety of states, which makes it accessible for many women to attend.
WITS provides attendees with the chance to hear about new technology trends, learn new skills through hands-on workshops, and connect with other women working in tech. It can also help connect you with potential employers and investors.
Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing
Hosted by the Anita Born Institute, this conference is one of the biggest gatherings of female technologists in the entire world. The conference celebrates the achievements women have made in tech while providing them with opportunities for collaboration and professional development. Like WITS, there are also recruiters from a wide range of companies, if you’re looking for a new role.
The location and speakers for this event changes with each year. Previously, speakers included professors of technology from universities like Harvard and Carnegie Mellon.
Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference
The next great conference on this list is the Girls in Tech Catalyst Conference, an event for women in tech of every race, industry, and level. Held in June 2019 in San Francisco, this conference features women from many backgrounds, from Pixar Animation Studios to the Director of Product Creative Strategy at Netflix.
Beyond speakers, this conference has a variety of events. There are speed informational interviews, design thinking sessions, and networking mixers so you can chat with female leaders from a range of tech sectors.
Global Tech Women Voices Global Conference
With this conference, participants gather virtually and in-person across the globe to discuss the contributions of women in tech. Attendees participate in technical discussions and are able to network with women across the world. And what’s better is that this conference is streamed and recorded, so you can easily access it if you’re unable to attend.
This conference also focuses on finding solutions for the gender gap within technology, and the ways in which women of all ages, races, and backgrounds can be encouraged to participate.
Ready to Get Inspired?
With new technology conferences popping up every year, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t attend one. Not only will you learn new skills and hear from motivational leaders from your industry, but you’ll also be able to make valuable long-lasting connections.
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Women account for 57% of the American workforce. That percentage is skewed when it comes to women in tech. Only 25% of STEM positions are occupied by women, however. What's causing this statistical discrepancy?
Similarly, only 14% of computer science degrees go to women. In fact, the number of women working in technology has been declining in recent years. Women in tech accounted for 37% of STEM positions in 1985. That number had fallen to 14% by 2010.
Despite the societal inertia, women are gaining ground in the technology sector. The women in tech trend is growing, and it doesn't show any sign of slowing.
Why Having Women In Tech Is Important
Women are the single most significant economic group in the world. Their decisions impact up to 85% of financial decisions in the United States. They are responsible for $4.3 trillion in annual spending.
Women are the largest consumers of media and culture in the United States. They also play the most video games and have more plans to purchase electronic devices than other demographics.
Having women in the technology sector isn't just a bid to learn how to sell products and services to women, however. It's good business sense.
WalMart has reported findings that diverse teams are the most efficient working configuration possible. They regularly outperform groups of a company's most successful individuals.
Having more diverse voices in every industry is more representative of the multi-cultural, interconnected world in which we're living. Even Hollywood, the slowest and most lumbering of industries to evolve, is embracing diverse voices and perspectives.
Hollywood isn't known for their charity or their ideology. If Hollywood is embracing diversity, it's because it makes sound business sense.
Having women working in tech is a good strategy for business owners. It's vital for our future as a society, as well.
More jobs are coming from tech than any other industry. Considering how many traditional business configurations are being disrupted in new and surprising ways, this trend isn't likely to slow down anytime soon.
The subtle forces that prevent women working in the technology sector from holding a representative percentage of the industry must be addressed. That glass ceiling could end up relegating women to the cellars of emerging new sectors if we're not careful.
Defining Technology Jobs
Data is difficult to parse and analyze in these days of divisive headlines and controversial content to drive Internet traffic. People's opinions on women in tech are divided, like pretty much every major issue that's important to society.
Some claim that there aren't any women in tech at all. This claim doesn't jive with the gushing onslaught of listicles and round-ups published in the last few years. The difference in opinion requires a little bit of clarification.
The website TheMuse.com defines women in tech as anyone who can write code. When you, the statistics shift dramatically. Only about 33% of the women in tech on the lists above are actual coders.
Being clear on our definitions of technical jobs is essential to gain a clear perspective on this nuanced topic. Digging into the numbers a little more in-depth reveals age-old gender stereotypes that are holding women in tech from rising to their full potential.
The technology sector is massive. It's comprised of many moving parts. Not all of these parts are valued the same.
You could break down the complicated digital economy into significant camps for ease of understandability. Front-end developers are those that are responsible for the finished product. They are the face of a tech company, as well as its voice.
Back-end developers are the ones responsible for the technical heavy lifting. They are responsible for writing the code that forms the foundation of technical products. If this were construction, back-end developers would be the architects and engineers who draw up the blueprints.
The difference in valuation isn't an issue in and of itself. Coding is complicated, and coders deserve to get paid. It only becomes problematic in light of the reality that more men tend to be back-end developers. Back-end developers tend to earn a lot more than their front-end counterparts.
This discrepancy speaks to the assumption that women are more social than men. Women tend to get shuffled into service industry jobs and positions that require intense socialization.
Men are assumed to be more analytical, more prone to process-oriented tasks and systemic work. Looking at these numbers show these gendered considerations still very much exist, despite our best efforts to get more women working in technical fields.
Society tends to have a vision of the brilliant coder as a slightly antisocial, nerdish man. Steve Wozniak or Bill Gates would be the prime example. This hasn't always been the case, however.
Women working in the technology industry were instrumental in the early stages of the Internet. The class distinction between various types of tech jobs didn't exist until the Internet emerged as the juggernaut of digital commerce we know it as today.
Why The Technology Sector Needs To Be More Inclusive
Diversity is essential in every industry. Technical careers need to have an equal representation of the many kinds of people that make up our interconnected world. How can tech companies hope to solve the problems of tomorrow if they don't allow everyone to be heard?
To thrive as a society, we need to move past these reductive gender stereotypes. They're inaccurate and cause great harm. Every woman isn't inherently social the same way that every woman's eyes aren't blue. Every individual is made of a unique constituency of parts.
It's up to the tech industry to take advantage of every individual's unique skills and talents.
The rising trend of women in tech is reflective of where we are headed, as a species. Technology is supposed to be the Great Democratizer. It's supposed to help us transcend our biological and societal limitations towards creating a fair and just society.
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