Friday September 6, 2013 0 commentsBy Lee Porter
I was a bit of a latecomer to the excitement of the Startup Phenomenon Women event held in Boulder on Sept. 3.
In general, I'm resistant to the "womany," girl-power, kumbaya stuff that goes for -- what is it - neo-feminism?
That said, there are many real issues surrounding the way girls and women show up in a still male-dominated world, especially in technology. I fervently hope that STEM -- or STEAM if you wish -- is a remedy to the problem of equity in opportunity, pay, advancement and success.
The Van Heyst Group, who organized the event, did an excellent job of presenting a series of high-powered, impressive and dynamic panels of women who get stuff done.
The event presented a well-balanced approach to life as a "woman-trepreneur" and all the challenges it entails -- from finding mentors, to finding money, to minding your mental and physical well-being.
The program gave a nice salute to women and their companies who are succeeding in Colorado, as well as some national-brand speakers who rounded out the conversation.
The basic format of the day was an intimate conversation among interesting women (and a few men) who really had something to say. It was a refreshing and engaging approach, one that drew the audience in despite there being no time reserved for Q&A. Moderators posed stimulating questions and the discussions were fluid and unscripted.
The speakers spoke about their passions, which included their businesses but also their lives.
The fundamental imbalance of gender in technology, business, government, and finance is a serious problem that has gotten much attention since Sheryl Sandberg spoke up. STEM and entrepreneurial education will go a long way to help address the challenges young women face.
In the words of Brad Feld, who moderated questions from a panel of CU students: "Look at the arc we're aimed at--in 20 years this won't even be an issue."
I have to say I'm not sure he's right.
Madeline Di Nonno from Geena Davis' non-profit seejane.org had a compelling set of statistics that showed an astonishing lack of girl-power representation in entertainment media and -- holy moly -- those kids watch TV for 8 hours a day!
But with role models like the women at the Startup Phenomenon Women '13 event, the prospects are encouraging.
Click here to view the Startup Phenomenon Women photo gallery