Google developer conference features tech industry’s latest trend: more women
Google’s I/O developer conference is boasting something new this year: a whole lot more women.
More than twice as many women will attend the event this year than last, Google’s Vice President Megan Smith told USA Today.
Twenty percent of the attendees are female compared to only 8% last year, and it’s a drastic change from two years ago when Google (GOOG) took heat for not even offering women’s t-shirt sizes.
Women will also be more common on stage. Nearly 25% of presenters are women compared to 16% last year.
While the gender divide at the conference has improved, the low female representation signals the diversity problem within Google and the tech industry as a whole. Last month, Google released its diversity report that revealed only 17% of women at the search company hold tech positions. That’s better than the industry as a whole, where women make up, on average, 12.33% of engineers.
“It’s our job, once we see a problem, to work on debugging it and fixing it,” Smith said. While it’s still not the 50-50 split for which Google is aiming, “the trajectory is good,” she noted.
Google doubled down its effort to welcome women to the conference this year, reaching out to various technology groups, such as the Anita Borg Institute, Girl Develop-It and Hackbright Academy, in order to broaden the attendees at its showcase event.