Lesbians Who Tech Confab Offers Ideas on Gender Equality and Gun Control

Photo: Lesbians Who Tech, via Facebook.

Net neutrality could be a channel toward gender equality. Financial incentives may repair diversity. Tech might fix the gun problem.

These are three of many ideas and calls to action shared at this year’s Lesbians Who Tech 2018 summit in San Francisco. From Thursday evening and through Saturday night,  thousands of LBT women convened to share ideas, network, and collaborate on both conflicts and successes inherent in a tech environment that is less diverse and open to them than it could be. The summit’s agenda is chock full of representation from elite tech companies, from Facebook to Uber and through the government. The folks from these companies weren’t roundabout with their ideas, either.

Axios reported Uber executive Bozoma St. John said tech executives could be held accountable to increasing diversity with financial incentive, a bonus perhaps for improving the data.

"There's no excuse," St. John said on stage at the summit Friday. “We’re way past that."

Democratic congresswoman Gabby Giffords told summit goers she’s starting a tech council to help lawmakers figure out gun laws.

"Now is the time to come together, be responsible Democrats, Republicans, everyone," Giffords said.

Another government official, FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn pointed to net neutrality as a force that can increase diversity, citing that as one of many reasons to support and fight for it.

"If I say there is a platform that’s most equalizing of our time, what would you do to keep it... That’s the question that is in front of us today," Clyburn said on stage. "We cannot make the assumption those freedoms will always be there, that what we have today will be there tomorrow."

If a 35-second recap of Friday at the summit doesn’t quench your thirst, you can watch feeds of the Friday speakers below.

On Saturday, highlights included Google software developer Daniela Petruzalek sharing some tips on battling imposter syndrome:

  • Take small steps to build confidence
  • Embrace new opportunities
  • Acquire knowledge on the go
  • Learn how to fail
  • Be data-driven
  • Be your true self
  • Have a personal mission

At the risk of doding on the search engine company, Googler Sheree Haggan spoke at length about diversity and the struggle to achieve it.


Microsoft’s Sweekriti Satpathy shared philosophies regarding solid DevOps (a tech culture by which the development and operations processes are more in sync with each other as opposed to traditional processes). Satpathy argued the same philosophy can be applied to anyone’s personal life:

  • Build: plan, track, research, commit
  • Test: progress, prepare, test scenarios
  • Release: completion, celebrate, accountability
  • Analysis: reflect, monitor, correct

You can catch more of Saturday’s speakers below.

Lesbians Who Tech traces its origins to happy hours. According to Forbes’ deep dive into the genesis of the organization, San Francisco-based techie Leanne Pittsford got frustrated by a male-centric deluge of tech events. She decided to be the change she sought and put together a series of gatherings for lesbians in tech at a local bar. Since then, those gatherings have turned into a 30,000-member-strong organization.

Lesbians Who Tech summits take place in San Francisco and in London. If you want to learn about or watch prior summits, the organization's YouTube page has you covered with plenty of content.

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