CES, the world’s biggest tech conference recently learned a major lesson related to gender equity. This huge annually organized consumer-electronics event in Las Vegas actually caught major negative attention from the activists during the latter half of 2017. This was when the show unveiled its all-male lineup comprised of keynote speakers which were the 2nd time in two years.
Although the officials added 2 female keynoters, later on, the reputation of the gathering remained mostly about the “Boys Club”. Also, the fact that one among the events latching to CES just last year was unsanctioned and it was the nightclub that featured “Robot Strippers” that were female.
Correcting its mistakes, this year, about four from the nine keynoters in the group are women. GenderAvenger, an activist group actually raised ruckus related to this gender bias last year. The group has now sent a congratulatory letter to the CES organizers and even awarded this show with “Gold Stamp of Approval”. The current keynoters include 45% women out of which 60 percent are women of different races.
This is a major change for CES show, which like many other tech conferences actually remains mostly male in numbers similar to the industry served. Even when you ignore the Sci-fi gadgets, robot dogs, or the Booth Babes, this show largely remains male-oriented. One can easily peg this as technology show with the mostly male population. While you can see men shifting uncomfortably while waiting for their turn in bathroom lines, women actually waltz in immediately given the less number.
The 4 days long CES show shall open on Tuesday. However, the media previews start Sunday. The keynoters for the year include names such as IBM’s CEO Ginni Rometty, Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su, and Elaine Chao of U.S. Transportation Security. The complete featured list of speakers includes half population as female. However, the exact percentage of the same won’t be known till the event starts. Gary Shapiro, the CEO at Consumer Technology Association that organizes CES, stated that there is nil questioning about the fact that the show shall always try to do the best.
Tania Yuki, the CEO for Shareablee, stated that diversity in the position of keynoters should be about having folks that see things in a different manner. It’s more about people who are frank about disagreeing with things that actually are wrong or stupid. She also added that the important question is whether the CES organizers have actually listened to the critics.