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People are seen in the exhibit hall at the RSA conference. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)
People are seen in the exhibit hall at the RSA conference. (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)


Major tech conference under fire for naming 21 men keynote speakers — and just 1 woman

By WITW Staff on March 2, 2018

A major cybersecurity conference in San Francisco is facing criticism and scrutiny after only one woman was chosen to be a keynote speaker out of 22 scheduled to attend — anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky. Organizers for the RSA conference blamed their failure to recruit women speakers on the lack of women in the cybersecurity industry, where only 11 percent of positions worldwide are held by woman, according to research firm Forrester.

Monica Lewinsky was the only woman named as a keynote speaker at the upcoming conference. (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

In response, Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos put together a list of qualified women keynote speakers and shared it to Twitter, suggesting that it might be time to start up a rival conference with “all women speakers.”

Leigh Honeywell, a security engineer and technology fellow at the ALCU, hailed Lewinsky’s inclusion as “wonderful and highly relevant,” but questioned “the complete lack of representation by women who are actually in the field.” Speaking to USA Today, Lewinsky said that she was “disappointed” to be the only woman keynote speaker, and that she is “addressing it with the conference organizers through my speaking agent.”

Trade shows such as RSA have long been a bastion for largely male audiences and a professional obstacle for women in the industry, according to USA Today. Case in point — it wasn’t until 2015 that RSA banned vendors from using scantily clad “booth babes” to advertise their booths at the conference.

Read the full story at USA Today.


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