Less than a week after Bill Gates held his almost entirely male CEO Summit in Seattle, two groups have organised female-oriented technology summits of their own.
Women in Technology International (WITI) and Digital Amazon, a Web design consulting firm, have organised the conferences to highlight the role of women in the hi-tech industry. And Microsoft is now sponsoring the WITI summit.
WITI (www.witi.com), which has run technology conferences for women over the past three years, announced its decision to host a pro-women summit for 1998 directly after Bill Gates' global gathering (see story, page 16).
Gates, who only invited two women CEOs - Autodesk's Carol Bartz and Mattel's Jill Barab - to attend his 100-strong testosterone conference, was slated by WITI founder Carolyn Leighton for ignoring a $50 billion (u31.2 billion) segment of the IT market. She claimed this undervalued womens' role in the IT industry, when their profile was already too low.
A survey by WITI shows that only 2% of technology company CEOs in the US are women. This compares with 7.9% in other industry sectors.
By hosting an all-female conference, WITI aims to increase womens' profile throughout the industry. The group expects 3,000 high-profile female technologists to attend the summit, which begins on 4 June 1998 in Santa Clara, California.
Stephanie Brail, who runs Digital Amazon and is the founder of Amazon City, a Los Angeles-based web community for Women (www.amazoncity.com), has decided to hold a Women in Technology conference in California in late autumn this year.
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