recommended reading

Can't Find Women for Your Tech Conference?

Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com

Verily: What problem can’t be solved with a PowerPoint presentation? 

Need to introduce a new iPhone, convey the importance of the law to a room full of dolor executives, or communicate how your governmental agency spies on an American company?

There’s a deck for thatthat, and that.

So a writer, Joanne McNeil, and a developer, Divya Manian, today introduced a deck of their own—a deck meant to address the vast inequality between the number of men and number of women who speak at technology conferences.

The problem, as they see it: All those technology conference leaders—who are mostly men—just don’t know how to search the Internet. Their proposed solution? Learn to search.

“Experts agree that most ‘best of’ lists that ignore women are the result of poor search skills,” Learn-to-Search.com reads. “Poor Internet search skills result in homogeneous communities.”

So it provides—along with a heap of beautifully contrived stock photos—helpful instructions on how, exactly, to search for female speakers on the Internet. Here’s an example:

McNeil & Manian 

Or:

McNeil & Manian

This is hard stuff.

“It is a parody, but the point we are making is serious,” McNeil, who has contributed to The Atlantic before, said in an email:

Look around! It is not hard for me to name talented women and people of color in tech or any field, but these are people that often work behind the scenes because their talent isn’t as widely recognized as their white male colleagues.”

Putting together a project with only white men is sort of like saying your favorite books are The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Da Vinci Code. Those books are not necessarily representative of the best of literature, but they are prominently displayed by the register in an airport bookstore so if you are in a rush, you’ll take them.”

Learn to Search also lets people anonymously alert Twitter users to the existence of the site. Any Twitter user’s name can be entered, and it might be a good tool when a male conference leader needs to be reminded how to search the Internet.

“The idea is to have people anonymously suggest to people [that] they have to take the extra step to find different voices … and hopefully having this tongue-in-cheek presentation of the basic steps would help make that happen,” wrote Manian in an email.

While this is a small, pointed tool, McNeil and Manian say the problem goes beyond equal representation at conferences. Women who do appear on-stage may face less pay than their male colleagues or be saddled with a diminished, “moderator” role. 

“It is sad we are still fighting for better representation in 2013,” wrote McNeil.

Men who do know how to search the Internet and who want to help their female colleagues in other ways may want to consider taking The Pledge.

(Image via Pressmaster/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion

Florida’s Concealed Carry Permit Holders Names Exposed

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.