Students in Ethiopia celebrating International Girls in ICT Day on April 25.

SXSW Moments: Women in Tech

The Forrest Four-Cast: May 1, 2019

Did you miss something at SXSW 2019? Want to relive the magic? Look to this space over the coming weeks for links to video and audio replays of some of the most incredible experiences from this year’s event.

In 171 countries, over 357,000 girls and young women have taken part in more than 11,100 celebrations of International Girls in Information Communication and Technology Day, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in April annually. The events, which took place this year on April 25, encourage and empower girls and young women to consider car​eers in ICTs,​ benefiting girls and technology companies.

SXSW 2019 took a broad look at women in tech, diving in to the opportunities, the benefits, the challenges and the results of increasing female participation and attention. Learn more from these audio panels.

Disrupting the Status Quo: Female Leaders in Tech
It’s tough to be on top. For leaders in tech who are women, this is even more so the case. Tech companies are making efforts to encourage inclusion, but there are still few women in leadership roles. How are these leaders tackling the unique challenges of managing teams that are in many cases, predominantly male? How are they mentoring teams to build more inclusive work environments? Tech leaders discuss this and more.

How Women Are Rebuilding a Man-made Internet
Women make up the majority of active social media users. Yet these platforms were made by men, causing all major online spaces to cater to the male user. These platforms are typically public, subjecting women to bullying, trolling and harassment — 83 percent of young women report this as a problem in their lives. As a result, women are combatting a sexist internet by moving behind “closed doors” and building new platforms away from the public crowd. They’re participating in closed discussion groups tailored for them, finstas (fake instagrams), and 1:1/group private messaging. This panel discusses the emergence of female-focused platforms and how spaces that prioritize women’s needs (safety, authenticity, and empathy) will disrupt the Internet entirely.

Heroines of the Social Enterprise Movement
Women are innovating the social enterprise sector with effective, efficient and sustainable business models that ultimately empower other women around the world. This session features three different female leader perspectives within the social enterprise space. You will learn about the latest, viable business models that achieve sustainable social impact, common challenges to look out for as your business scales, and how a holistic female-led approach creates a positive multiplier that impacts the women their businesses serve, the communities they call home and the leaders who brought these social enterprises to life.

For Women By Women: Knowing Your Audience
To thine own self shave true. That is how Oui Shave found its target audience and saw 250% in growth in two years. This session discusses how to build your brand from the ground up by knowing your audience and telling the stories of customers eager for brands to understand them. Oui Shave founder Karen Young found the needs of women in the market were unmet and stocked with products not properly designed for women’s comfort. Offering high-quality razors, she created a product for women and inspired by real experiences from women.

Women Are Building the Brands We’ve Always Wanted
Human brands. This term has become an aspirational goal for businesses across the globe, sparked by an evolution in the desire for a person, instead of a persona, behind the brand. Gone are the days of positioning and control; consumers are demanding authenticity and connection. But why is this only recently realized? A panel of powerhouse marketers digs into the increasing purchasing power of women, the impact women are having on brand marketing as well as how more representation in the C-Suite is helping to forge a new frontier for brands to prioritize being open, real and empathetic.

More Memories from SXSW 2019
Change is Coming
Urban Mobility
It’s Time for Sports!
Saving the Ocean
Military Matters
Women’s Health
Social Media Power
Telling New Media Stories
Marvel’s Magic
Future Health
May the Fourth
Growing Unicorns
Thriving at Work
Making a Difference
Fighting Fake News
Disaster Response
Hacking Democracy
Pete Buttigieg
Kara Swisher
Arlan Hamilton

Do these audio recordings inspire you to get involved in a SXSW session next year? Enter your forward-thinking speaking proposal for March 2020 via the SXSW PanelPicker. Speaking proposals for next year’s event are accepted via this interface from July 1 through July 19.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.



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Hugh Forrest

Hugh Forrest


Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.