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?s global gathering.
Gates, who only invited two women CEOs - Autodesk?s Carol Bartz and Mattel?s Jill Barab - to attend his 100-strong testosterone conference last month, was slated by WITI founder Carolyn Leighton for ignoring a $50 billion segment of the IT market. She claimed this undervalued women?s role in the IT industry, when their profile is already too low.
A survey by WITI shows that only two per cent of technology company CEOs in the US are women. This compares with 7.9 per cent in other industry sectors.
By hosting an all-fenale conference WITI aims to increase women?s 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. Women who cannot attend can access the event via cybercast.
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