Women in Tech: Web Summit's 2016 Initiative

How Web Summit is Addressing the Lack of Women in Tech

How Web Summit is Addressing the Lack of Women in Tech

The 2015 Web Summit, which featured speakers from tech startups and favorites such as Instagram, Slack, Charity: Water, Tinder, and countless others, is always looking for opportunities to transform the digital community. Their most recent significant initiative  – designed to celebrate women in techn at their 2016 event – is such an example.

The Commitment to Change initiative, as the campaign is formally known, is combating an issue the tech sector is acutely aware of. By many accounts women only make up 30% of the technology sector, but at some of the largest and most influential tech companies, the numbers are even more dire. Twitter has reported that females fill 10% of its technical jobs, with its leadership only 21% women. Those numbers are 17% and 21%, respectively, at Google. The issue of women in tech is dire indeed.

For many of us who work in the technology sector, it’s hard to ignore the gender gap: the industry has long had a significant problem in this area. In fact, when attending conferences including but certainly not limited to Web Summit, it’s hard not to look around and notice that imbalance. That’s why, for the 2016 Web Summit, its organizers are encouraging prospective attendees to invite a female entrepreneur as their guest.

As part of Web Summit’s commitment to help change the male to female ratio in the tech industry, it is inviting 10,000 female entrepreneurs to attend the 2016 Web Summit as its guests. If you’re reading this right now and would like to invite a female entrepreneur, you have the ability to help change the ratio by sending a free ticket to the female entrepreneur of your choice. The entire process, amazingly, takes less than a minute.

Sinead Murphy is the Director of Live Events and spokesperson for the Commitment to Change campaign. Having previously worked in the music industry, Murphy became acutely aware when she joined Web Summit that female participation in the tech sector was an issue. “By giving away 10,000 tickets to female entrepreneurs as part of our commitment to change we hope that it will, in some small way, contribute to solving the problem,” says Murphy, who believes that the Commitment to Change initiative “is a small step in the right direction along a path that the tech industry as a whole needs to move down. ”

Early returns on the campaign seem to be pretty positive: in the first week of the campaign, over 5,500 female entrepreneurs were invited. Current Web Summit attendees–or merely fans of the initative–are encourages to send a free ticket to a female entrepreneur of their choice at https://websummit.net/change.

Web Summit 2016 will be held on November 7-10 in Lisbon. In addition to the main Web Summit event, the initiative covers the organization’s other main conferences including Collision in New Orleans and RISE in Hong Kong.

Photo credit: http://www.fierceclever.ie/

Jeremy Goldman has been working with companies looking to take their operations online and inject “social” into their processes for over a decade. After a career at L'Oreal and Unilever, Jeremy founded Firebrand Group. His views have been featured in publications such as Inc., Mashable, Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, ReadWriteWeb, and The Next Web. His first book, Going Social: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, and Energize Your Brand with the Power of Social Media hit the #1 spot on for social media and business.