Women in Tech Panel At TechCrunch Disrupt = A Complete Waste of Time
But it didn’t have to be.
You did a disservice to women in technology today ladies. You had 30 minutes to share progressive ideas, to help us become stronger. And you blew it.
5 minutes into the panel, I was horrified. One panelist, Cyan Banister (Zivity) and the moderator, Sarah Lacy (TechCrunch) both expressed that they didn’t even want to be there. What I imagine they thought was just honest commentary was actually a slap in the face to the other 5 panelists and told everyone in the audience that the session had no merit. Why would anyone want to listen to people that don’t even want to be talking?
My horror turned to disgust as Rachel Sklar (Mediaite) got crucified for saying she wants to raise gender disparity awareness. As Lacy fired off accusatory question after accusatory question at Sklar (barely pausing to let her respond), I couldn’t help but feel that the only thing this panel was going to accomplish was to perpetuate the notion that women are catty, bitchy and try to keep each other down.
Here’s how I, and I hope women in technology everywhere, wish it would have gone:
-Discussion about current and future programs to get women more involved in technology at a younger age
-How each of you are mentoring and supporting other women in technology
-Tangible action items for all of us, regardless of gender, to get involved in the issue
To Cyan and Sarah: Why do you seem so angry and defensive? No one said women should be featured and promoted in technology just because they’re women.
To Sara Chips (Girl Developer IT): I’m with you that in my hardware tech life, I’ve experienced nothing but support and assistance from my male couterparts. They definitely need to be recognized for that.
To Leila Chirayath Janah (Samasource): Agreed there are greater problems in for women in the world and you are doing an incredible job addressing them. But this panel was about women in tech and we could have all benefited from a closing statement by you that was related to the panel topic.
To Michelle Greer (Simple Speak Media): Happy to hear you get in the comment about being called awful names during the Arrington post comments scandal – it’s an issue that definitely happens and should be talked about. Behavior like that has no place in the tech world or anywhere.
To Rachel: You did great under fire today. I’m hoping to help shift the women in tech ratio by figuring out how I can get this blog to encourage, invite, inspire women to get into technology, especially at an early age.
To Lauren Leto (Bnter): Great idea on next year’s panel name. Let’s hope there’s going to be one.