On the “Women’s Innovation Panel”

Lauren Hockenson at the Next Web pans the recent Dreamforce “Women’s Innovation Panel,” which featured Susan Wojcicki and Jessica Alba being interviewed by Gayle King. Apparently, it did not go so well:

It’s alienating, in no uncertain terms, to have to sit through a panel designed to be about women in technology and instead have it derailed by the seemingly interminable myth that when we want to talk about being a woman in tech, what we’re really saying is that we want to talk about being wives and mothers with day jobs in the technology industry.

One has a hard time imagining asking Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates about how they balance kids and work, or how they manage to look fabulous after a hard day of M&A. But, Hockenson says,

too often, these panels are grandstanding dog and pony shows, designed to trot out successful women and demean them by asking them, “How do you do it all?” as if they are crazy for pursuing their careers as their male cohorts would.

The assumption that either questions about work-life balance are the only things women CEOs are able to talk about, or that other women in tech want to talk about, is clearly screwed up. Unfortunately, this panel seems to have done an especially good job of laying that bare.

Scroll Up