I watched this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) from the comfort of my home office this year, which -- in my opinion -- is the best way to take in the flurry of press conferences, launches and news. I was anxious to hear about all the innovation, of course, but I was also curious what the show -- the way the tech industry kicks off the new year -- would look like for women in tech.
In years' past, it was a sea of male attendees, a lot of misogynistic marketing and the omnipresent "booth babes" at every stand. This year, it seemed that Vegas stayed true to its usual colors with nary a women’s restroom line (do booth babes ever have to pee?), but also some notable steps in the right direction. Here's some of the good, the bad and the ugly reports from CES from around the web. (See A Photo Tour of CES 2017.)
At my flight from YVR to Vegas.— Borjana (@Boryana_S) January 4, 2017
Attendant: Why r so many men & so few women on this flight?
A man explains: It's for #CES, the TECH show.😠
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), which puts on CES, has yet to release its attendance numbers, and it has not broken down the gender split of attendees in the past. Our guess is that's because it's still so heavily skewed towards men.
PCMag reports that D-list celebrities like Tae-Bo creator Billy Blanks seem to have taken the place of the babes in a lot of instances, but a quick search of "CES booth babes" reveals plenty of slideshows promising to chronicle the hottest of the bunch from 2017. Getting more women in the industry and, thus, attending CES, may take more time, but can we as an industry at least agree to stop employing booth babes?
These are just a few of the observations of someone from the sidelines, though I've been to five of the last ten years of CES. Did you attend this year's confab in Sin City? What were some of your impressions? CES doesn't have to set the tone for a full year of women in tech, and we're confident it's going to be a great one as we continue to chip away at the boy's club that our industry has long had in place.
— Sarah Thomas, , Director, Women in Comms