Twiistup’s Lineup Is Clearly An Attempt To Cut Down On Lines At The Ladies Room

Let me start by saying I’ve always loved Twiistup. It was the first major tech conference I ever attended, and it’s an annual affair I always look forward to. I love how LA-centric it is, and how I always walk away with tons of renewed relationships, new contacts and interesting ideas. And, let me also preface this by saying that I am a big fan of the work that this year’s organizer Patrick Vlaskovits is doing. I also think this year’s lineup of speakers and advisors has some really interesting names, and some people whose work I truly admire.

Now, let me also say this:  WTF Twiistup? What could possibly have possessed you to post a full lineup of speakers that does not include a single woman. I know the line for the ladies bathroom at last year’s conference got a little long at times, but this is no remedy. In fact, it’s a bit of an embarrassment. For a conference that prides itself on being “LA’s biggest technology and startup event” the exclusion of all the fantastic females doing amazing things in the LA tech scene is pretty ridiculous.

Now, I’m not going to say women deserve equal time on Twiistup’s agenda — or on any conference agenda for that matter — just because we were born with lady parts. My stance has always been to give the women who work as hard and as well as the men the same privileges and publicity that the men get. And this lineup, with its woeful exclusion of every single well-qualified, well-spoken woman in the LA tech scene, falls sadly short of accomplishing that. If there were a shortage of local women who could stand proudly and deservedly alongside the fantastic men on the speakers list, then I would say that Twiistup is justified in its decisions. But, there’s certainly no shortage of those women in tech or in LA.

In fact, I’d venture to say that even within my own rolodex, I could name multiple women whose accomplishments and speaking abilities are equal to or better than those of the guys on the current list of speakers. They’re all LA-based, and I bet most of them would be more than willing to appear at Twiistup.

So Twiistup,  I can only assume that you neglected to include any of those amazing women because you just didn’t have their contact info. After all, that’s really the only valid excuse for posting a full conference lineup sans any females. And hey, that’s a problem I’ll happily help you remedy. Since I’m such a big fan of the work your organizers are doing and the work they’ve done in the past, I’ll be more than happy to turn over all the contact info you need. All I ask in return is that you make sure the ladies room is well stocked this year.

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5 thoughts on “Twiistup’s Lineup Is Clearly An Attempt To Cut Down On Lines At The Ladies Room

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Twiistup’s Lineup Is Clearly An Attempt To Cut Down On Lines At The Ladies Room « Mollie’s Blog -- Topsy.com

  2. Hi Mollie,

    Thanks for thoughts. For the record, we have been working on getting great speakers/panelists/judges who also happen to be women — and we do have women involved.

    Personally, I think it would terribly unfair, patronizing and objectifying to all of the talented women in the startup ecosystem (ironically, as it happens, I met with two yesterday in LA) to approach them with:

    “Hi, I need you to speak at Twiistup because you are a woman.”

    I would never want to devalue anyone that way and ask them to participate because we can check off some sort of box around their sex, race or creed.

    Unfortunately, now whomever we announce who also happens to be a woman (and we have a couple on deck – previous to this silliness) will now be under suspicion of being a “token”. This is silly, counter-productive and really didn’t have to be that way.

    Anyhow, iof you would like to chat, reach out to me anytime — I am very easy to reach via patrick@twiistup.com.

    Best,
    Patrick

    PS I see we have quite a few things in common. We’re both Gauchos and have Hungarian roots.

    • Thanks for responding Patrick. And I love that you’re a fellow Gaucho and Hungarian! I don’t know whether to Ole Ole or ask for your recipe for chicken paprikash.

      Anyway, I certainly agree with you about the quota issue — the last thing I want is for the inclusion of women in events like this to become about filling quotas, or ensuring you’ve got ‘token’ representation for all demographics. Personally, my issue with the lineup was not that there wasn’t an equal ratio, it was the fact that there are numerous LA women whose qualifications match or exceed those of the current lineup, and yet there wasn’t a single one of them on the list.

      As I said, there are plenty of LA women who deserve to stand up on that conference stage, and as a regular Twiistup attendee, I think it would be a shame if we didn’t get to see at least a few of them speaking. It sounds like that’s not the case, and the lineup just went out before it was finalized. If that’s true, then I look forward to being proven wrong as you announce more female speakers.

      • Hi Mollie,

        My mission for Twiistup is to make it a great event for the LA startup ecosystem, attendees, sponsors and of course, speakers.

        It is certainly fair to accuse me of being

        1) less organized than I need to be (still futzing about with the agenda and speakers),

        and

        2) painfully less in-the-know and networked-in than I need to be with regards to talented people of all races, sex, or creed!

        To those two: I plead guilty. Mea maxima culpa.

        Best,
        Patrick

        PS Go Gauchos!

        PPS Let’s grab coffee next week.

        • Hi Joanne,Veggies in baked goods are wonderful that way. I think that now that I have the base rpciee and I know the temperature to bake them at without the edges burning (the trick with using honey), I’ll have lots of fun subbing in grated zucchini and walnuts or even adding beets and cocoa. Have a great weekend!

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