Thread by request: Women in Technology panel at TechCrunch Disrupt

Over on our linkspam, jon wrote:

Continuing to follow up on the Arrington “Stop blaming men” post, I’ve got a preview of this week’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference at TechCrunch, disrupted: the third wave meets the agenda of awesome.

One of the positive outcomes of the kerfuffle was adding an all-woman panel tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. (Pacific time) on Women in Technology. Right in the middle of the Grace Hopper Celebration, how cool is that! Any chance GeekFeminism could set up a thread for people to discuss before, during, and after the panel?

OK then! Here’s your thread. But jon then writes:

The panel didn’t go well. TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy moderated and kicked it off by saying she didn’t think the panel belonged at the conference and didn’t want to be there but Arrington had told her she had to. It kinda went downhill from there. Most of the panelists were in women near tech (I think Sara Chipps of Girl Developer IT might have been the only programmer). With six panelists on a 30-minute panel and a very active moderator, most of them didn’t get to say much anyhow. Julieanne Smolinksi’s got a great writeup on Lemondrop. Here’s my take, which also has a lot of the discussion from tweetstream and links out to other reviews.

Was anyone else there? Were you as disappointed as jon? Did you find anything to take away from it? Any thoughts on how the panel could have been better?

7 thoughts on “Thread by request: Women in Technology panel at TechCrunch Disrupt

  1. Elizabeth G.

    Is anyone going to blogging form the Society of Women Engineers Conference in early November?
    I hope to see a lot of Geek Feminists there.

    1. Elizabeth G.

      Sorry I just got home, I swear I meant to say, “Is anyone going to BE blogging FROM the SWE conference in November?”

  2. jon

    Thanks for the thread! I collected a lot of the Twitter commentary from during and after the panel. Very curious what others’ impressions are!

    jon

    PS: More positively, J’aime Ohm won the Disrupt Hackathon over the weekend with WiseDame, a personal safety application she describes as “black box for everyday life”. Here’s an excellent interview with her from earlier in the week. She gave a great 6-minute presentation yesterday, including a shoutout to iHollaback; here’s the summary from Twitter.

  3. Meg

    Sounds a lot like the “Women In Gaming” talk at PAX last year. Dear Conference Organizers: just because someone is a woman doesn’t mean she should be on a panel about “Women In $FOO”. In that case, being willing to objectify yourself so people will pay you to play video games appears to rule out being aware of sexism even when it is happening to you.

    If you actually wanted to foster discussion about the environment at your conference, finding panelists who believe that sexism exists and have observed it happening would probably be a better approach than picking the six female-appearing names in the list of speakers.

    Also, the little piece of Oppression Olympics was a nice touch. Good to see that we still can’t take responsibility for our privilege.

    1. Restructure!

      If you actually wanted to foster discussion about the environment at your conference, finding panelists who believe that sexism exists and have observed it happening would probably be a better approach than picking the six female-appearing names in the list of speakers.

      But that goes against the purpose of the Women in Tech panel, which was to show that TechCrunch and Arrington and Silicon Valley are not sexist/biased against women.

      1. jon

        Actually I think another purpose of the panel – just like everything else at Disrupt – is to promote TechCrunch and its friends. For example Cyan Banister (whose quote about women being too nurturing and risk-averse Arrington loves to use) is CEO of Zivity, which launched at the precursor to Disrupt in 2007 and has continued to get a lot of coverage for things like their deal with Playboy. Zivity’s chairman is her husband Scott, who was previously at Ironport, whose funders incuded Disrupt speakers Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel. The Banisters are also investors in GameCrush, which made the finals of this year’s competition with their business model of connecting male gamers with “PlayDates” for $36/hour … you get the idea.

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