Let's face it: Women in tech are few and far between. According to a recent 'Women in Tech' report, women held 57% of all professional occupations in 2015, yet they held only 25% of all computing occupations.
There are, however, those women in tech "unicorns" that magically appear every so often to speak at conferences or whom are featured on the "Forbes 30 Under 30" list each year.
Still, there is a noticeable shortage of women in the tech industry. For example, after skimming through the "Forbes 30 Under 30" list for Enterprise Tech in 2017, I noticed only 7 women featured out of the 30 nominees.
Another thing I've noticed (after living in San Francisco for the past few years), is the underwhelming number of women present at tech conferences. In fact, the only time you really see a noticeable amount of women during these conferences is when you are waiting in line for the women's bathroom.
A Data-Driven Conference Featuring Women
There was a time, however, when I noticed more women speakers present in comparison to male speakers during a tech conference.
Data Natives Tel Aviv, hosted by Dataconomy, is part of a series of events that started with Data Natives Berlin. The first Data Natives conference took place in Berlin in 2015, attracting thousands of data-driven individuals from across the globe. Since then, Dataconomy decided to bring Data Natives to Tel Aviv, Israel, one of the most innovative and startup oriented cities in the world. Data Natives Tel Aviv has since become part of a bigger international project that includes meetups in 40 locations (the next meetup will take place in San Francisco).
While Data Natives Tel Aviv was similar to Data Natives Berlin, the conference in Tel Aviv took a unique spin by featuring a majority of women speakers.
"Dataconomy and Data Natives' mission is to share knowledge, educate and connect the data-driven generation. Being a woman MD in a male-dominated industry, I see it as an integral part of my work to bring women leaders to speak at our events, to deliver quality content and to inspire other women attendees. We really aspire to be a gender equal tech platform and I believe we can certainly achieve that goal," said Elena Poughia, Managing Director at Dataconomy.
Notable women speakers during Data Natives Tel Aviv included:
Crystal Valentine, VP of Technology Strategy for MapR Technologies. Crystal was the keynote speaker for Data Natives Tel Aviv, discussing how new data-driven technologies are being applied to help fight breast cancer.
Ruth Bergman, Director of Research at Hewlett Packard Labs. Ruth discussed her role at Hewlett Packard Labs in Israel, explaining how she is helping create a new infrastructure for computing called "The Machine". The Machine leverages the latest hardware technologies to create a platform to process large amount of data.
Maren Lesche, Communications Manager at the European Innovation Hub and Startup Advisor. Maren shared her insights on how big data is changing the technology and healthcare sector.
Shira Kimchi, Business Manager for Google Cloud Platform in Israel. Shira discussed how data is being used and how people are implementing big data and machine learning.
Efrat Hexter, Watson Solutions Architect for IBM Watson Israel. Efrat discussed the Watson API services how these can be applied to different applications and the role that big data plays in this technology.
Sigalit Bechler, Researcher at Similar Web. Sigalit described quantum clustering and how patterns in data are being discovered for innovation.
Visit Data Natives' You Tube channel to view all of the speaker interviews.
What's in Store for the Future?
Data Natives Tel Aviv demonstrated just how successful a tech conference could be when more women speakers are involved. Having a majority of women speakers present during a tech conference not only highlights the notion that there are indeed women in tech, but it also inspires, educates and empowers women everywhere to become involved in the technology sector.
In the future, I hope to attend more tech conferences that feature women speakers. Conference leaders who seek out women presenters will discover that there are actually many women who would like to share their voices and passions for technology.