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Speak Up 2020: Redesigning Tech Conferences With Women in Mind

Industry trends


How Companies Can Take a Stand for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to Help Fight Unconscious Bias and Discrimination at Tech Conferences

Our second annual “Speak Up” research report, “Speak Up 2020: Redesigning Tech Conferences with Women in Mind,” once again examines the representation of women at tech conferences and the systemic challenges that keep women from coming back. As in the 2019 report, we asked women about their tech conference experiences and audited keynote lineups to determine the ratio of male to female speakers.

However, this year, we took the report a step further. We examined how unconscious bias in conference design affects women’s experiences, for example A/V equipment that is more difficult to secure to women’s apparel. We also looked at diversity beyond gender, asking women of color about their specific conference experiences, and evaluating disparities in keynote lineups between all women and women of color.

When this research was conducted in late 2019, we couldn’t have predicted the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic, but the importance and relevance of these issues still exists. Even in an era of virtual events, it’s important for companies to do their part as allies by pushing tech conferences toward real change. This report offers four actionable strategies for companies to drive diversity and inclusion efforts through their presence and sponsorships at conferences, promoting more opportunities for women, and creating a more equitable industry environment.

The 2020 report includes:

  • A three-year breakdown of the number of women and women of color who have spoken at 18 of the world’s largest tech conferences
  • In-depth statistics outlining the attitudes and experiences of women who have attended tech conferences around the globe
  • Practical strategies for company leaders who want to further their commitment toward diversity, inclusion and equity in the technology industry

To learn more about our findings and get tips for promoting DEI efforts through conference opportunities, download the report below.

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