Tereza Nemessanyi, founder of Honestly Now, an online Q&A forum, brought her elementary school-aged daughter along to a tech demo that she said was unlike most others she has been to.
“Last time I demoed was January 2011,” Ms. Nemessanyi said. “I brought my daughter with me and she asked me ‘mommy, why is it all boys?’”
Well that certainly wasn’t the case this time. Last night, more than 100 tech-savvy women (and a few guys) filled rows of chairs in a large room in the Microsoft building in midtown to participate in the first-ever New York Tech Meetup’s Women’s Demo Night.
The event, hosted by NY Tech Meetup and Change:The:Ratio, was set up to support the rising number of female founders of tech start-ups in New York. It featured demos by 11 companies including: ElectNext, Fathom, Findings, HonestlyNow, Hourly, Incline, The Mission List, Paperlex, ReadSocial, Loosecubes and VenueBook. The demos varied from an exclusive online travel site to a contract management site.
The theme of the night was the rising influence of women in the sphere of tech businesses, which was evident by the event’s following. The sold-out event consisted mostly of female professionals and a few male supporters.
But as Andrew Rasiej, board chair of NY Tech Meetup, told the audience, last night’s gender ratio is not typical in the world of tech businesses.
“Right now our industry is not diverse and it needs to be diverse,” Mr. Rasiej said.
The tech industry in the United States has notoriously been known for its small amount of gender diversity and even smaller amount of racial diveristy within the workplace.
Despite the industry’s lack of diversity, New York has recently been experiencing a rush of female influence in technology.
“In New York City, a tech startup is twice as likely to be started by a woman than it is in Silicon Valley or London,” Rachel Sterne, chief digital officer of the City of New York told the audience.
“There truly is a digital sisterhood- and it’s not cheesy, it’s real,” Morra Aarons-Mele, founder of The Mission List, an online marketing network for women told the Observer. “We get each other funded, introduced, and supported. I’ve found practical resources like insurance brokers and deep strategic advice from this community of women that talks online everyday, and then meets up all over the globe at events.”