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TechCrunch50: Women get short shrift

September 15, 2009 |  4:30 pm
At TechCrunch50 . Credit: magerleagues / Flickr.

It's a common refrain, but it always bears repeating: Why aren't women better represented at technology conferences?

TechCrunch50 is no exception. "It's like a 20 to 1 ratio of men to women at this conference," said Stella Yu, a personal brand advisor from San Francisco. And that ratio manifests itself, she believes, in what happens on the stage.

"Last year, they dissed Closet Couture. They said, 'It's not going to work. Nobody wants to see what's in your closet.' It's because everyone on the panel was male." Yet Closet Couture had a favorable write-up in Vogue and continues to do well.

Yu said the same thing happened this year with LearnVest, a personal finance site for women. Judges Kevin Rose and Bradley Horowitz said they were skeptical. "This didn't resonate with me," Horowitz said.

The conference does feature some women trying to rectify the situation. In "the pit" -- the area where start-ups have tables, corralling people and demonstrating their wizardry, the Girls in Tech table is raising money to support Girls Inc.

"We're trying to promote and educate the younger generation about careers in technology," volunteer Tonia Dinh said. "A lot of girls may be interested in the field, but it's predominantly men."

-- Dan Fost