mesh: a conference by, for and featuring white men

Friday, March 2, 2007

Last year, there was a certain amount of noise about the fact that the mesh organizers managed to find only a tiny number of women speakers — 6 out of 50, or some such ridiculous ratio — and this year is not shaping up to be any better, with exactly zero women keynote speakers. It appears, however, that they’re trying to head off the protests via a somewhat disingenuous post on Mark Evans’ blog:

The truth is we wanted women keynotes, spent a lot of time compiling a list of excellent candidates and tried to make it happen. But, for a variety of reasons, we couldn’t make it work.

Yeah, those reasons being:

  1. If we talk to them, we might get cooties.
  2. The strippers women who we usually hang out with don’t meet the requirements.
  3. None of them would agree to get the coffee and take notes.
  4. The only ones that we could find didn’t have good enough tits.
  5. We didn’t think that their husbands would let them attend.
  6. What do women know about technology, anyway?

8 Comments

  1. Mark Evans says:

    Sandy,
    If you’d like to talk our mesh and offer us some feedback, I’d be more than happy to speak with you.

    cheers, Mark

  2. sandy says:

    Mark, I sent the following email to Stuart on March 12th, and have received no response, so felt that you weren’t really interested in a conversation:

    I was at mesh last year, and I saw a lot of the pre-conference noise around how few women speakers were there. I’ve also be participating in a lot of conversations with others in the TorCamp community lately about the difficulties that some companies have in hiring women engineers/technologists: many small technology firms have no women engineers at all, although I’ve run a 40-person company as CEO/CTO, and my entire technical management team was female, so I know that it can be done. I believe that some of the reasons for the lack of women in these jobs is cultural, but much of it is corporate culture/personality, which can be unwittingly unfriendly to women who might consider applying for jobs at a company. Given the high participation rates of women in using social networking applications, and the different viewpoints that women engineers can bring to a development team, it’s critical for Web 2.0 companies to be aware of whether they’re sending the wrong message to potential female job candidates.

    I’d love to hear and participate in a conversation about hiring women in technology, particularly from companies with good hiring ratios about their reasons for success. Is there potential for such a panel at mesh this year? I’d be very interested in contributing to such a panel.

    I’d be happy to have a conversation, but it seems strange that I have to resort to public ridicule in order to make you pay attention to my request.

  3. Betty says:

    What idiots. Everyone knows that girls get cooties from boys, not the other way around. (insert rolling eyes emoticon here)

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