#NoAllWomen? Apple has no female keynote speakers at WWDC
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#NoAllWomen? Apple has no female keynote speakers at WWDC

San Francisco : CA : USA | Jun 04, 2014 at 10:33 AM PDT
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The male dominance of Silicon Valley may be a stereotype, but it’s a documentable reality at the Apple WWDC 2014 Conference in San Francisco. Apple introduced many wonderful new things at this year’s WWDC keynote, like iOS8 and OS X Yosemite. But not once did they introduce a biological female to the WWDC main stage to present any of their company’s new products during the annual keynote presentation – for the 4th year in a row.

To be fair, Apple did include 9 paid female models in this year’s video segment introducing CEO Tim Cook for his keynote. One of these female models actually uses the phrase “blah blah blah blah blah” to describe her web development efforts. Another declares “Duckface!” before capturing a selfie. With respect, I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard those words attributed to a male developer in a corporate promotional video.

One of the female models paid by Apple to look like a developer in Mr. Cook’s intro says, “I think you don’t even know who a developer is. I think you’d be surprised.”

Truer words have never been spoken.

Owen Thomas at ReadWrite tweeted “When have we seen a woman on stage at WWDC?” after this year’s WWDC keynote speech. So on a lark, I went and sat through every single Apple WWDC keynote speech since 2007 and tallied the speakers by gender.

Certainly there are several high-powered female developers on the WWDC session schedule. These sessions are held in smaller conference rooms, not on the main stage, and they are not generally recorded or livestreamed. I am only counting the keynote speech, the main stage session that kicks off every WWDC conference.

By my count, there have been 57 keynote slots given to men and precisely 2 given to women. (Unless you also count the one slot given to the voice of Siri in 2012).

Want to see the numbers? I sat through 16 hours worth of previous years’ WWDC keynote address videos since 2007. YouTube links to the videos are provided, but be aware that most links are not authorized copies. Here are your WWDC keynote speakers by gender.

WWDC 2014 Keynote:

Tim Cook (CEO)

Dr. Dre (via teleconference)

Craig Federighi (SVP, software)

Greg Joswiak (VP of iPad, iPhone, and iPod Marketing)

Tim Sweeney (CEO, Epic Games)

Josh Adams (Programmer, Epic Games)

Chris Lattner (Director, Dev Tools)

MEN: 7

WOMEN: 0

WWDC 2013 Keynote:

Tim Cook

Craig Federighi

Jony Ive (via teleconference)

Phil Schiller (SVP Marketing)

Boris Sofman (via teleconference)

MEN: 5

WOMEN: 0

WWDC 2012 Keynote:

Voice of Siri

Tim Cook

Jony Ive (via teleconference)

Craig Federighi

Scott Forstall (SVP, iOS)

MEN: 4

WOMEN: 0

ARTIFICIAL WOMEN: 1

WWDC 2011 Keynote:

Steve Jobs

Scott Forstall

Phil Schiller

Craig Federighi

MEN: 4

WOMEN: 0

WWDC 2010 Keynote:

Steve Jobs

Jony Ive (via teleconference)

Randy Ubillos (Final Cut Pro)

Karthik Bala (Activision)

Marc Pinkus, Jen Herman (Zynga)

Reed Hastings (Netflix)

MEN: 6

WOMEN: 1

WWDC 2009 Keynote:

Craig Federighi

Phil Schiller

Scott Forstall

Bertrand Serlet (SVP of OS)

Mark Hickey (GameLoft)

Cameron Powell (Airstrip Technologies)

Josh Koppel (ScrollMotion)

Peter-Frans Pauwels (TomTom)

Neil Young & Stephanie Morgan (ngmoco)

Wayne Grant (Pasco)

Luke Schneider (ZipCar)

Marcus Ryle (Line 6/Planet Waves)

MEN: 12

WOMEN: 1

WWDC 2008 Keynote:

Steve Jobs

Scott Forstall

Phil Schiller

Ethan Einhorn (Sega)

Ken Sun (eBay)

Sam Altman (Loopt)

Michael Sippey (TypePad)

Benjamin Mosse (Associated Press)

Brian Greenstone (Pangea Software)

Mark Terry (Moo Cow Music)

Jeremy Schoenherr (MLB.com)

S. Mark Williams (Modality)

Mark Cain (MIM Software)

Xavier Carillo-Costa (Digital Legends)

MEN: 14

WOMEN: 0

WWDC 2007 Keynote:

Steve Jobs

Phil Schiller

Scott Forstall

Bing Gordon (Electronic Arts)

Paul Otellini (CEO, Intel)

MEN: 5

WOMEN: 0

I’m not sure if my numbers are completely correct, because I’ve never had a press pass to WWDC (and after this article, it’s a sure bet I’ll never get one!). I’m just counting using the online videos. If you were at WWDC and can clarify these numbers, please document this in the comments below.

Whatever you think of Sheryl Sandberg of “Lean In” fame, at least Facebook has an executive-level public female who frequently goes on the record to represent the company in media relations. Google gives Susan Wojcicki all kinds of PTO to evangelize on behalf of the company at high-profile conferences with a female name and face.

As for as Apple? Well, the 57:2 ratio of women to men presenting at WWDC keynotes pretty much speaks for itself.

NOTE: A previous version of this article reported a 33:0 ratio of men to women. Upon inclusion of brief third-party speaker slots from 2008 and 2009, the ratio was changed to 57:2.

Joe Kukura is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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