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How tech conferences are (finally) injecting gender balance into their speaker line-ups

How tech conferences are (finally) injecting gender balance into their speaker line-ups

For the past several years, a big portion of my professional life has consisted of attending, and often speaking at, conferences around the world. As the founder of an M&A advisory for people seeking to buy or sell SaaS, content, ecommerce and app-based companies, I participate in gatherings covering a broad swath of business models.

Yet, while, as a company, we’ve always had a diverse client base and team, I have consistently noticed that many events (even well-known ones) have fallen short in that regard. Too many conferences have male speakers — and only males — and that’s meant a limited range of opinions and viewpoints. Now, that’s changing.

The stated goal of many organizers today is to not only create a more inclusive environment by featuring female speakers but also to encourage more women to enter the tech industry in the first place.

Below, I highlight five conferences that place a strong emphasis on promoting the role of women in tech, something that’s long overdue.


LTV Conf

Since its inception, LTV Conf has placed a premium on female speakers, believing this makes for a richer overall experience for participants. As LTV Conf organizer Fun Lee explained to me,

“By hosting an evenly gender-balanced line of up of speakers, this opportunity creates more data points for people to connect and think differently, which will spin off innovation.”


Women in IT Awards

Launched in 2015 by the business technology site Information Age, the Women in IT Awards event has grown beyond its original roots in London and New York, and expanded to also celebrate women in tech in Silicon Valley as well as Asia and Ireland.

As stated on the Women in IT Awards website, “The percentage of female IT leaders globally remains at 9{54d2fcdcd494adb6982253be6fe8d5492e5f586157f419110131714f9092ec60} — a figure that has changed very little in the past few years despite one-third of organizations claiming to have diversity initiatives.”



Another SaaS event, one of the world’s biggest and most established, to take diversity seriously is SaaStock. SaaStock last year launched its TakingStockPledge initiative in collaboration with customer service platform Zendesk, at SaaStock18.

The TakingStockPledge is comprised of six basic tenets that conference organizers everywhere would do well to emulate.


See Also


Content-based businesses, such as blogs monetized through affiliate marketing and advertising, have long been a lucrative sector for women in tech. A study by Sysomos showed a slim majority (50.9 percent) of bloggers to be female. It should come as no surprise, then, that one of the most prominent digital conferences for content creators, BlogHer, is explicitly aimed at women.



SaaS-E, which held its inaugural event in Toronto in December 2018, was born partly of co-founder Anna Dewar Gully’s belief that “SaaS exists at the intersection between women’s interests and the economy.”


As the number of women in technology grows, expect more and more conferences to take an active role in promoting gender-equality: a welcome development that should spur both greater innovation and greater growth.

Source –Entrepreneur (by Thomas Smale)

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