But the killer keynote came from Clinton, giving her first public speech this year.
Clinton is no stranger when it comes to Silicon Valley and is a strong supporter of Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit dedicated to closing the gender gap in tech.
In her keynote, among other points, she voiced concern about the dearth of women in tech and the lack of a pipeline. She focused on the numbers, which do not lie: including the fact that currently, women receive only 18 percent of computer science degrees — which is, amazingly, less than half of those awarded in the 1980s, when women earned 38 percent of those degrees. “We’re going backwards in a field that is supposed to be all about moving forward,” Clinton said.
As for pay parity, both inside and outside of tech, it’s a big issue. According to the most recent surveys by the BLS, women made 82 percent of the median weekly earnings of male full-time wage and salary workers.
For the tech industry, we see pay gaps and opportunity all around us. In fact, in a recent study last November, Glassdoor found that of 25 tech companies surveyed, “At most of these companies, men report earning a higher base salary than women for the same role.” (You can see a chart breaking compensation down by company and job title.)
It’s encouraging to be seeing momentum building for pay parity and a major political player who gets the importance of tech, and, moreover, the importance of women in tech. Bravo to both Clinton, and to Arquette.
Although we have a long way to go…there are baby steps happening!
As for myself, I am looking forward to continuing this conversation as a speaker at the 2015 SXSW Interactive program with a Core Conversation on “Boardroom or Baby” on March 14th.
For a preview take a look at the accompanying blog post. And, if you are going to be in Austin – join me there!