by Sarah K. White

20 worthwhile conferences for women in tech

Jan 05, 202113 mins
CareersDiversity and InclusionIT Leadership

If you support diversity and inclusion for women in technology fields, here are 20 conferences you won't want to miss.

diverse group of women in audience with tech background
Credit: Thinkstock

Diversity is a hot topic in the tech industry — and because it’s discussed frequently, it might be easy to feel like things have already changed. But according to a recent Women in Technology report from IDC, only 42% of women feel their employer offered equal pay, compared to 75% of men who feel the same.

Additionally, 56% of women feel that women are underrepresented in STEM fields in their organization compared to 26% of men. Women also feel that their workplace is more geared towards men (45%), that there is a lack of support for women in STEM (33%) and that taking time off for family will impact their career opportunities (35%).

Whether you already have a strong network of women colleagues in your industry or if you’re looking to expand your community, there are a number of conferences designed for women in STEM fields. And most of these aren’t just for women — they’re open to allies and anyone who supports diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Here are 20 tech conferences that aim to connect women and other underrepresented groups in technology to build a more diverse community in the tech industry.

Black Women Tech Talk

The Black Women Tech Talk conference is dedicated to founders and offers “self-enriching sessions, networking and one-of-a-kind experiences.” The three-day event includes keynote speakers, sessions on how to practice self-care as a founder, how to balance your personal life and career, and other workshops specific to being a female founder. The retreat also includes less traditional sessions and perks such as free hair and makeup appointments, group yoga sessions, and other networking and social events that give attendees a chance to mingle.  

Date: August 12-13, 2021

Location: New York City

Ticket price: TBA

Global Women in Tech Awards

The Women in IT Awards & Summit is a one-day event covering topics such as blockchain, AI and machine learning — there is also an awards gala at the end of the conference. Award categories include CIO of the Year; Advocate of the Year; Entrepreneur of the Year; Future CIO of the Year; Business Role Model of the Year; CTO of the Year; Rising Star; and Diversity Initiative of the Year. The NYC and Silicon Valley conferences were held virtually in 2020 — dates and location for 2021 haven’t been announced yet.

Date: TBA

Location: New York City and Silicon Valley

Ticket price: TBA

Grace Hopper Celebration

The Grace Hopper Celebration was co-founded by Dr. Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney in 1994 and is now the world’s “largest gathering of women technologists,” according to the event website. The conference is named after Admirable Grace Murray Hopper, who is considered the one of the first computer programmers — her work is directly responsible for the development of COBOL.  

Date: September 26-29, 2021

Location: The event will be broadcast from Chicago, IL

Ticket price: $299 for students and $799 for the general public 

Johnson Women in Technology (JWiT) Conference

The Johnson Women in Technology (JWiT) Conference is “committed to taking action and driving the national dialogue around advancing opportunities in technology for women,” according to the event website. The conference helps bring together women MBAs, industry leaders and advocates to engage, connect and inspire and to foster a community of “leaders and allies” who will help drive women forward in the tech industry. The 2021 conference is still TBD — date and location have not yet been announced, but it is slated to take place in the spring.

Date: Spring 2021

Location: TBA

Ticket price: TBA

Lesbians Who Tech Summit

Started in 2014, the Lesbians Who Tech Summit cites itself as the “largest LGBTQ professional event in the world,” according to the website — and allies are welcome. The event was designed to bring more exposure to the LGBTQ community in tech, including “LGBTQ women, trans and gender nonconforming individuals, LBGTQ people of color, and demographics that are underrepresented in the tech sector and LGBTQ spaces.” This years’ event, the Debug 2020 Summit, was held virtually amid COVID precautions but you can still register to get on-demand access to recordings of the event. 

Date: November 16-20, 2020

Location: Virtual

Ticket price: You can get free access to the keynote talks, while the event is priced at $149 for general access, $399 for VIP & corporate access. 

She Summit

She Summit is a two-day networking and personal development event with more than 30 speakers. While not specifically a tech event, technology is one of the topics covered at the event. The focus is on bringing together executives, entrepreneurs and other leaders in the industry to discuss leadership and diversity across industries. The 2020 conference was held virtually, but if you pay for the conference and membership, you can access on-demand recordings of the virtual conference. 

Date: Nov 9-13, 2020

Location: Virtual

Ticket price: $125 per month for the conference and membership fee or a flat rate of $1,197 for the conference and an annual membership. 

Simmons Leadership Conference

The Simmons Leadership Conference has taken place annually for more than 40 years as a professional development and networking conference for women. It’s hosted by Simmons College and features high-profile speakers — Serena Williams is scheduled to speak at the latest upcoming event. Past speakers include Michelle Obama, Madeline Albright, Anita Hill, Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters.

Date: March 23, 2021

Location: Boston

Ticket price: $495 per person, $295 per person for non-profit organizations and $295 for Simmons University graduate students and alumnae 

Tech Up for Women

Tech Up for Women is a one-day conference that focuses on the advancement of women in technology — topics include cybersecurity, block chain, AI, VR, digital transformation, big data, security, entrepreneurship, startups and healthcare technology. The event encourages women to network and for women to “improve their digital literacy and successfully compete and disrupt gender imbalance in work environments,” according to the event website.

Date: Nov. 16, 2021

Location: New York City

Ticket price: Tickets start at $250 

The Girls in Tech Conference

The Girls in Tech Conference is a two-day event that features keynote speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions with leaders in technology. Attendees are given the chance to develop business skills, find mentors and role models in the industry and gain valuable insights on how to navigate your career. The 2020 conference was held virtually in September, but you can’t access recordings of the event — dates and location for 2021 have not yet been announced.

Date: TBA

Location: TBA

Ticket price: TBA

The Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference

Established by Stanford University, The Global Women in Data Science (WiDS) Conference brings together data scientists of all genders worldwide to support women working in the data science field. The main conference and event typically take place on the Stanford University campus, with more than 150 partner events held worldwide at other locations, but the event will be held virtually in 2021 — registration opens in January.

Date: March 8, 2021

Location: Virtual

Ticket price: TBA 

WeCode 2021

WeCode 2021 is an annual tech conference hosted by Harvard University, which “seeks to promote community and scholarship for undergraduate women in technology worldwide,” according to the website. It’s an event that aims to bridge gender gaps in STEM, develop “concrete initiatives” to support women in tech and equip women engineers with competitive skills and a network of professionals to turn to. The conference typically takes place in Cambridge, Mass., on the Harvard campus, but it will be held virtually this year.

Date: March 6-7

Location: Virtual

Ticket price: $17

Women Impact Tech

The Women Impact Tech conferences are a series of events that align “top women in tech with companies who are committed to inclusion and innovation.” The event gives women in tech, namely women engineers, the chance to network with more than 350 tech companies and have one-on-one meetings with companies at seven different national events — there is also a virtual conference for those who can’t attend in person. The 2021 events are expected to take place in San Francisco in August, Boston in October, and New York in December. There is also an event planned in Seattle for February 2022. 

Date: TBA

Location: San Francisco, Boston, New York and Seattle

Ticket price: TBA

Women in Cloud Annual Summit

The Women in Cloud Annual Summit is typically held in Redmond, Wash., at the Microsoft Conference Center. But much like other conferences on this list, the WIC summit will be held virtually this year. The event is focused on women’s contributions to cloud computing, empowering women in tech and encouraging inclusion in the industry. You don’t have to be a woman to attend; “all genders and allies of women in tech entrepreneurs and community are welcome to participate in the Summit,” according to the event website.

Date: January 28 – 30, 2021

Location: Virtual

Ticket price: TBA

Women in Cybersecurity

The Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) conference was established in 2012 by Dr. Ambareen Siraj of Tennessee Tech University through a National Science Foundation grant. WiCyS is a nonprofit organization that offers memberships, scholarships and networking opportunities to women working in security. The conference takes place over two days and gives WiCyS members and nonmembers a chance to network with other women in the industry and get updates on the latest cybersecurity trends. 

Date: Sept. 8-10, 2021

Location: Denver

Ticket price: $600 for members of WiCyS, $850 for non-members; discounts for students, faculty, government workers and nonprofit employees

Women in Tech Festival

The Women in Tech Festival is an event to celebrate women in STEM, business and leadership positions, and anyone who supports the advancement of women and diversity. It’s a two-day event with speakers, startup pitches, group discussions, educational workshops and career mentorship sessions. The official event date hasn’t been announced but it’s slated to take place next Fall.

Date: Fall 2021

Location: Mountain View, Calif.

Ticket price: TBA

Women in Tech Summit

The Women in Tech Summit is a series of coding conferences that take place across the nation with conferences held in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and West. These conferences help connect women regionally — everyone from executives to students — who are working on both the business and technical sides of the industry students. Two virtual events are planned for the spring and fall of 2021.  

Date: March 24-26 and October 20-22

Location: Virtual

Ticket price: $99 for spring summit only and $169 for the spring and fall summits; $49 and $79 for students, respectively.

Women in Technology Summit

The Women in Technology Summit is a three-day event with more than 1,500 women and men from around the world who gather to network, develop relationships, collaborate with peers and discover the latest trends in technical and leadership skills. The event includes a Women in Technology Hall of Fame dinner, a career fair, a startup village and a business and technology expo. This 2020 event was held virtually in December — dates and location for 2021 are still to be announced. You can still register to get access to on-demand recordings from the December event.

Date: TBA

Location: TBA

Ticket price: The VIP Summit Pass is $59 for members, $99 for nonmembers; the VIP Summit Pass and lifetime membership is $845

Women of Silicon Valley

The Women of Silicon Valley conference is a two-day event that brings together more than 2,700 tech industry professionals from major corporations and startups across the country. The event is packed with activities, and you can choose from a silver, gold, platinum or diamond pass — each level gives additional perks, such as access to the speaker lounge, free lunch, reserved front row seats, express check-in, access to the speaker’s corner where you can meet main stage presenters, VIP drinks reception and access to advanced training opportunities. This year the event will be held virtually — so perks such as free lunch, VIP drinks reception and live performances won’t be on the agenda, but the three-day online event will feature keynote speakers, workshops and networking opportunities.

Date: June 7-11, 2021

Location: Virtual

Ticket price: $100 for early access; $155 when the discount ends

Women Transforming Technology

The Women Transforming Technology Conference (WT2) is a “consortium of companies and organization in industry, academia and nonprofit sectors” that are committed to addressing the issues that are top priority for women in technology. They hold an annual conference for women in technology and this year’s conference theme is “resilience,” and knowing how to respond to “setbacks, barriers or limited resources.” This is the second year the conference will be held virtually — the WT2 expects around 10,000 attendees globally.

Date: May 3-4, 2021

Location: Virtual

Ticket price: TBA

Wonder Women Tech

Wonder Women Tech is a national convention that takes place in Long Beach, Calif., in partnership with the City of Long Beach and the Mayor. The conference addresses topics such as women’s rights, politics, equal pay, diversity and fostering inclusive and tolerant work environments. The conference celebrates and empowers women by highlighting their accomplishments and achievements in the industry. This year’s virtual event included more than 200 speakers, an online inclusive community, career fair, resume workshops, networking events, mentorship opportunities, social events, meet and greets and more. Dates and location for 2021 have not yet been announced.

Date: TBA

Location: TBA

Ticket price: TBA