CES organisers react to sexism accusations claiming there aren’t enough women at the event

The head of the organisation behind CES has responded to accusations that the technology trade show is not doing enough to include female voices in its list of speakers.

CES organisers react to sexism accusations claiming there aren’t enough women at the event

The­ Consumer Technology Association (CTA)’s Gary Shapiro wrote: “we will redouble our efforts to expand women’s voices throughout the conference and as featured speakers.”

The statement comes as a response to political strategist and founder of advocacy group Gender Avenger, Gina Glantz. In an article for USAToday, Glantz noted that CES 2018’s lineup includes “six keynote slots, six men, five of them white”.

Shapiro acknowledges that the initial set of keynote speakers were, indeed, all men, but said two female leaders have since been added to a panel discussion on the future of video: A+E Networks president Nancy Dubuc, and Kristin Dolan; chief executive of TV data analytics provider 605.

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The standalone keynote speakers, however, remain all men.

Last month, the CTA’s senior vice president, Karen Chupka, responded to criticisms about speaker diversity by pointing to the “limited pool” of female company heads: “To keynote at CES, the speaker must head (president/CEO level) a large entity who has name recognition in the industry. As upsetting as it is, there is a limited pool when it comes to women in these positions. We feel your pain. It bothers us, too. The tech industry and every industry must do better.”

This sentiment is echoed in Shapiro’s letter: “A recent report from the Government Accountability Office found that ‘there remains a persistent lack of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in the technology workforce.’ We agree, especially for women in leadership roles. This is a global issue – not just within the technology sector –all industries and our society at large can and must do better.”

Shapiro adds that “those of us who produce events must do better too”.

Responding on twitter, Glantz called Shapiro’s statement is “a start”, and is looking forward to these words translating into action in 2019.

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