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Lesbians Who Tech Summit: Empowering Queer Women in the Tech Industry

Lesbians Who Tech

This year marks the first ever Lesbians Who Tech Summit, a national event that connects queer women across all areas of technology. Founded by Leanne Pittsford, the mission of Lesbians Who Tech is fourfold: the organization empowers women not only to connect with each other and other leaders in the tech community, but also to connect with community organizations to gain visibility in the field of technology, encouraging more queer women to enter this male-dominated industry.

“So many of our tech icons are straight, white men,” says Pittsford. “We want to increase the number of women in technology and leadership positions in the field, raise the visibility of the lesbians who are already leading tech innovation, and help younger lesbians advance their careers.”

Pittsford draws on both her professional and personal experience to ensure women in her community and abroad have a place in the industry. In 2011 Pittsford launched her startup, Start Somewhere, which helps social good organizations with their technical challenges.

“Once I entered the larger startup and technology sector, I realized that the gender disparity was a real issue,” says Pittsford. “If you go to a tech event, it’s 90% men, and a vast majority of tech leaders are men.”

Though there’s an increase in discussion on women in technology, Pittsford notes that it doesn’t reflect the experience of lesbians.

“Women in technology in Silicon Valley make 49 cents to every dollar a man makes. For straight couples, the economic disparity is alleviated because a husband makes up the extra income,” says Pittsford. “Lesbian couples face different challenges, as both members are earning below their male counterparts.” Pittsford wants to make sure that the LGBT experience is part of the conversation, and also part of the solution.

The Lesbians Who Tech Summit seeks to create a culture of empowerment, enabling women to advance their own careers and be an advocate for women’s and LGBT causes in their own company. By creating community connections and empowering queer women to pursue professional development opportunities, the Lesbians Who Tech Summit will inspire leaders, enable them to become visible members of their corporate and LGBT communities, and increase their earning potential.

Attendees can also expect to engage with out role models in the tech industry, gain inspiration from women who are leveraging technology in new ways, and gain access to mentors. The Summit features an impressive lineup of speakers, all of whom are lesbians in tech: Megan Smith, VP of Google X, Sara Sperling from Facebook, and Lisa Sherman from LOGO just to name a few. Subjects will reflect the intersection tech, women and LGBT topics. In addition to the main stage Summit, there is a two-day Hackathon for Summit attendees.

The Lesbians Who Tech Summit will be held February 27 – March 2 at the Castro Street Theater in San Francisco, California. For ticket cost and more information, visit the Lesbians Who Tech Summit site.