CES Responds To Protests About Their Lack Of Female Keynote Speakers

After receiving considerable criticism for their all-male keynote speaker lineup for their 2018 event, Consumer Electronics Show has listened and responded with the addition of two women. "Diversity matters because to shape the future we need to engage people of different backgrounds filled with creative influences. Diversity is key to innovation," reads their statement addressing Gina Glantz, founder of GenderAvenger, who was vocal about ensuring that women are always part of the public dialog.
The tech industry's biggest annual event acknowledged that their initial set of six male keynote speakers, five of whom are white, was lacking in its representation of the industry. The conference explained that, "CES hosts hundreds of speakers and we time the announcement of their participation based on their confirmation, topics, and panel completion." Nancy Dubuc, President and CEO of A+E Networks as well as founder and CEO of 605, Kristin Dolan, will now be joining them on the keynote stage. Additionally, they promoted a list of women speaking at this year's CES who, while not in the coveted keynote spot, are creators and innovators in their career fields.
Glantz responded to their statement on Twitter calling the addition "a start." The women's advocate added that she was looking forward to it "translating into action in 2019," and that GenderAvenger was committed to continuing counting the number of women on their panels and offered keynote spots.
The number of women working in the tech industry continues to increase, and with it should be access to visibility and the vital professional development that comes with speaking opportunities at important industry events. "We are committed to changing the status quo. For us this means not just selecting a diverse group of speakers but encouraging diversity in STEM, in the tech industry and in corporate executive positions," CES continued in their response.
CES published an initial response from Karen Chupka, the senior vice president of CTA, shortly after the keynote lineup was announced. In it, they revealed that their company represents an outlier in the tech industry: their staff is made up of mostly women, two-thirds to be exact. In fact, CES's executive team is run entirely by women. With women already a vital part of shaping the popular, industry event, and many women in top positions who could offer invaluable insight, the ability to include more women in prominent roles seems readily accessible.
Gina Glantz, founder and president of the grassroots, watchdog organization, spoke with Refinery29 about why women need to be more visible in the industry when the keynote speakers were first announced. "If, in fact, women are going to be respected in the context of what's happening now in our world, they need to be seen on big public stages," Gina Glantz shared.

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