There was buzz at EMCWorld this week about how many women were there. Of people who voted, nearly half thought the ratio was 100 men for every woman.
I attended EMCWorld as CDW’s digital correspondent. I interviewed keynote speakers, attended sessions, did live tweeting on the CDW twitter account, wrote content and checked out the expo center.
Thoughts on EMCWorld’s Dual Gender Ushers
First thing at Monday’s EMC keynote with Joe Tucci and Pat Gelsinger, I noticed something interesting, attendees were greeted by futuristic ushers dressed in uniforms you would see in an episode of Star Trek TNG (The Next Generation).
As you can see there were both women and men ushers dressed like this. As a woman in tech, I was happy (overjoyed!) to see this equal opportunity placement of both genders in this role. Is it still sexist if you objectify both genders equally?
I will keep my thoughts about the attractiveness of the male model in the photo out of this blog post.
I did see several men taking photos with the women ushers which is a common thing at tech conferences since they’re usually overflowing with scantily clad “spokespeople” who are women in tight, low cut blouses and 5 inch heels working for the vendors to attract attendees. Not sure I’d ever want to take photos with a hot looking guy who’s being paid to look that way at a conference but as you can see, this usher’s pectoral muscles are…uhm..very well developed).
First impressions are a big deal so this made me feel more comfortable as a woman attendee of this conference.
No EMCWorld Booth Babes
The other thing I noticed is since nearly all the booths were EMC run, the women had on very reasonable polo shirts. In fact, vendor and partner booths also had women working in shirts and clothing that were pretty much acceptable. The only one that caused me to raise an eyebrow was the Hawaiin booth handing out drinks and those flower necklaces known as Leis by pronounced “Lays”.
Are the women of EMCWorld feeling left out?
Still, there were several tweets from women asking about the number of women at the conference, reaching out to connect or looking at the upside of there being so few women at EMCWorld (like no line in the bathroom:
The first one was from Robin Perry:
Chad Sakac (the guy who demo’d on stage with Gelsinger) and is EMC SVP of Global SE, replied:
What Twitter thought about #EMCWorld The Man to Woman Ratio
EMCWorld event did a Twitter poll asking the ratio of Men to Women:
I estimated 200 – 400 women for the 13,000 in attendance putting the ratio at about 40 to 1. Ironically, on the same day this poll was shared out (and yes I retweeted it from the CDW twitter account) I was participating in a panel about diversifying your tech teams via the 4th annual Women Who Tech conference.
I estimated there were 40 men to every 1 woman making the total number of women around 325. Most of these women appeared to either be customers or EMC employees (the light blue shirt). The ethnicity most represented at EMCWorld by the women I saw: 79% White and 19% Black. That leaves 2% for everyone else. There were very few Asian or East Indian women. Yes, there were a lot of Black women at the conference! What is it about tech, engineering and Black women?
EMCWorld posted the results and it looks like nearly half of the people who voted felt the ratio was 100 to 1
There were several more tweets including a Women meetup at EMCWorld.
You can check out the tweets I captured in Storify about this:
- Is this true?
- What is being done to change this?
- If you attended, how do you feel knowing this conversation was going on?