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Response about speaker diversity at CES

Karen Chupka, Senior VP, CES & Corporate Business Strategy, Consumer Technology Association 
For more than 50 years, CES has been a launch pad for brands and startups. CES is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association, our staff is two-thirds female, we win awards for being a family friendly place to work, and fun fact: the CES executive team is run entirely by women.
We champion diversity of all types – gender, ethnicity, thought and beyond – and our show reflects that value. We’re proud of our record in welcoming a diversity of speakers to the CES keynote stage including General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer. In the last seven years, we’ve had 15 keynote spots held by women.
But, the keynote stage is just one CES platform. We had roughly 275 female speakers (including two all-female panels) this past January and expect similar numbers for CES 2018. We invite top business leaders every year and recognize that corporate timing, strategy, investments and availability all have to align to make this work. Companies make keynoting decisions based on having announcements that coincide with CES.
To keynote at CES, the speaker must head (president/CEO level) a large entity who has name recognition in the industry. As upsetting as it is, there is a limited pool when it comes to women in these positions. We feel your pain. It bothers us, too. The tech industry and every industry must do better.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have incredibly strong women in powerful positions at CES. Female business leaders are critical to the success of our show and the entire tech sector, and their participation at CES extends beyond the keynote stage to our conference sessions and entrepreneurs exhibiting across the show floor. These women are tech leaders and deserve the spotlight. They deserve attention. They are experts in their field.
We are still securing speakers at all levels for CES 2018, but the current program features high-profile women speakers in technology, entertainment and business.
We will continue to spotlight diversity at the show and are eager to release more announcements to our speaker lineup. In the meantime, we encourage you to dig deeper into CES programming and learn from the women beyond the keynote stage.
There are 42 female founders, waiting to see you in our startup area called Eureka Park this January, and that is only one section of the show. In addition to these founders, I know many driven women who are successful leaders in the tech industry. Many participate on the CTA board and our membership committees and councils.
Please look at CES, CTA and the tech sector in their entirety. There are smart and talented women. Write about them, support them, promote them and build them up. Together we can all make a difference. Let’s get a new conversation going #WomenInTech.