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Why women in tech should flock to SXSW

Susie Ochs | March 14, 2014
I've been to three trade shows this year--CES, MWC, and SXSW--and boy are my arms tired. Now that my laundry's in the washer and I've had time to exhale and reflect, I'm happy to report that there really is a trade show for women in tech: It's called South by Southwest.

And Dunham agreed that her male costar on HBO's Girls, Adam Driver, deserves all the delicious parts his breakout stardom has afforded him (Star Wars VII, baby!), but she wishes the same range of roles were available to the other women on the show: "People are ready to see Adam play a million different guys in one year, from lotharios to villains to nerds. Meanwhile Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet are still waiting for parts they can get interested in." Film, like tech, may have a ways to go to reach a more equitable playing field, but it was inspiring to see so many women making their voices heard and celebrating each others' success.

My favorite event was the #BeAwesome party, sponsored by and Change the Ratio, where I got to meet several amazing women I've been following on Twitter (women like Rachel Sklar, Glynnis MacNichol, Anna Curran, Nicole Shea, Kate Gardiner, Tammy Gordon, and so many more) and congratulate them in person on their various successes. To a woman, they were humble and complimentary right back, and ready to talk up not their own projects, but those of other women who inspire and mentor them. Sounds like a lovefest, I know, but I think the tech scene could use a little more love, and it was a refreshing switch from the vibe I've gotten at other, more self-promotional events.

So I may not have found the next breakout social app that will light the charts on fire before selling to Facebook or Twitter for a few billion clams. I didn't eat a 3D-printed Oreo or share anything scandalous on Secret. But at a conference dedicated to finding the best ways for technology to improve our future, I'll take a pocket full of old-school business cards with women's names on them over another product announcement any day. And the barbecue wasn't bad, either.


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