Where are the women at CES? Not one among 6 male keynoters

The speaker lineup at this week’s gigantic Consumer Electronics Show has already drawn criticism for its male roster - as has the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.
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women at CES

Gary Shapiro was Tuesday morning's opening speaker at CES. Credit: Twitter

CES the Consumer Electronics Show extravaganza finds itself in a bit of hot water for its all-male cast of keynoters. But it’s not just CES. The J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference has also been criticized for its overwhelmingly male lineup. 

The trade show in Las Vegas is known for putting the spotlight on the year’s new technologies – lots of bright shiny objects available across a broad spectrum of markets that includes healthcare technology.

It’s not a venue that is hard up for patrons. Yet it appears the organizers were not able to persuade even one tech-savvy woman to deliver a keynote.

The Consumer Technology Association, which organizes the conference, has included women in the CES program as participants in smaller roles, such as leading or sitting in a panel.

Karen Chupka, Senior VP of CES and Corporate Business Strategy, for the Consumer Technology Association, defended CES’ move on Twitter:

“@CES has a long tradition of diverse keynoters highlighting the latest in technology. We go beyond the keynote stage & bring a diversity of speakers to all our conference programming and we encourage you to check out our past CES lineups. Diversity is too important to ignore.”

Replying to a tweet was @GenderAvenger:

“Not enough! We have pulled our 28-years of attendance at @CES due to #CEStooMale It’s the main keynotes that draw international attn not the tiny North Hall sessions. The diversity of people/ideas matter most. @CTATech, the voice of CES is a trendsetter for all.”

CES did add women to its panels and other sessions, but none is slated for a keynote so far.

CES is not alone in shunning women for top speaking slots. Stat reports there are more men named Michael (22) than female CEOs (20) giving company presentations at this week’s J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

Men represent 94 percent of the 540 people presenting high-profile updates at the conference. Also, men represent 77 percent of the speakers for special sessions – talks that include nine-panel events, four of which are all-male panels with no women moderators or panelists at all.

The keynoters at CES are Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Ford Motor CEO Jim Hackett, Huawei CEO Richard Yu, Qualcomm President Christiano Amon, Verizon CTO Hans Vestberg, and Baidu COO Qi Lu. 

Chupka, in an open letter co-signed by CES CEO Gary Shapiro promised the organization would do better on this score next year, adding it would be a challenge.

“In the meantime,” they wrote, “we are excited about this year’s keynote speakers. We ask that you join us in celebrating and promoting all the women speakers at CES 2018. Don’t dismiss them simply because they aren’t serving as standalone keynoters.”

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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