Countless articles have been written about women in the tech industry - the lack of mentorship they receive, the challenges they face raising funding as CEOs and the ever-popular analysis of the unequal ratio of female-to-male engineers. Research shows that these numbers are not improving. Females are rarely executives and engineers and they still only make up one-third of the tech workforce.
Unfortunately, most conferences are no different.
Women who have “made it big” cite feeling stressed and anxious at constantly being approached to speak or present at conventions because of the lack of a qualified pool of female candidates. In terms of speakers at this year’s San Francisco ad:tech, women account for only 40 out of 130 total presenters - again roughly one-third, in line with Women 2.0’s findings of women in the business.
However, the tables are turning. Last year in New York, Women in Wireless (WiW) held an ad:tech after-party celebrating women’s achievements while encouraging them to network and up their playing power in the field. A small improvement, but a necessary one, proving that ad:tech is making progress slowly but surely.
A few months prior at ad:tech Singapore, comScore gave an enlightening presentation which debunked the myth of advertising demographics being primarily male. They disproved four common theories:
- There are more men than women online.
- Men are more engaged on the web.
- Men and women are equally engaged in social networking.
- Men make more purchases online than women.
By demonstrating the value of women online - the way they spend both their time and money - comScore changed the way advertisers view the fairer demographic. It’s not new information for some but further confirms which sex spends more money, allowing marketers to begin to hone in on patterns and preferences of their consumers. And when the key demographic is female, it seems like common sense to increase female employees, who may have a better understanding of what women want to see and can relate to in advertising and tech.
Bottom line: increasing diversity helps companies grow. With a more varied staff come multiple perspectives, ideas and flourishing finances.
This year at ad:tech, it is becoming more apparent that women are rising to power by pushing their way to the forefront. What they lack in quantity they make up for in solid strength. Vertical Response, an email marketing tool founded by wonder woman Janine Popick, is presenting; Fran Maier, president of TRUSTe, will be an exhibitor; and Rebecca Lieb, an esteemed journalist and analyst, will speak on the first day. These are just a few examples of how women, and the companies they shape, are grabbing hold of ad:tech and shaking its core with their influence and insight.
As the focus of executive women takes on increasing importance, their presence in both the ad:tech community and convention will follow.
This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out allvoices.com/adtech for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech San Francisco event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.