Last week at London Open Coffee Meet-up, the issue of female speakers at the Next Web Conference and the lack thereof came up, as discussed earlier by Boris and Patrick. To finally tackle the issue, I promised to come up with a list of 100 international female tech and web heroes. Indeed, I had some practice at restaurant review site Iens, where I once put together a top 20 of female chefs.
Let’s first state that I have been able to track down a number of amazing web women. My focus was on web entrepreneurs, investors and CEO’s in the Internet world. But I also came across highly regarded female cross media consultants, power bloggers and other independent professionals, as well a talented mid level managers.
My first place for research was LinkedIn. Yet ‘internet’, ‘ceo’ and ‘entrepreneur’ resulted in many men, but few women. Maybe they can add as search option ‘female’. When I googled a bit on the same terms, many initiatives focusing on women leadership sprung forward.
To enhance visibility of women there are several awards, such as the new Harpers Bazaar’s Women of the Year or the Cartier Women’s Initiative, focusing on female entrepreneurs in general (where Dutch Annemarie van Gaal is member of the jury) and the Blackberry Women Technology Awards, which honors the achievements of women leaders in the technology sector.
Also, articles in business magazines make an effort to portrait female leaders, as do various journalism blogs. Further, women networking groups take a stand on the issue and connect career women. The trend is that women are entering the boardroom and are knocking on the doors of investors as not seen before. Most governments have committed themselves to stimulate gender equality, also in the technology area, and organizations as Catalyst assist in this task.
Among the Fortune 500 tech companies, 5 are led by female CEO’s, such as Patricia Russo of Alcatel-Lucent. Google is breeding female technical leaders, such as Sheryl Sandberg, which are then bought by others, in this case Facebook, in the industry. So we do have something to be cheerful about in national women’s history month! I will publish about the list in the coming weeks on this blog; feel free to put suggestions forward.