SXSW stepped outside of expectations this year by offering interactive sessions and committee discussions on an array of social and political topics. The special event series is holding conversations on an array of topics, with titles like Global Impact, Health, Science, Business, Art,WTF and Beyond, Career, Design, Sports, and Entertainment. The series is engaging and even the medical discussions are intriguing, topics ranging from Embarrassing Bodies: Multi-Platform Medical Taboos, to Charity Porn: Sell Programs, Not People. This variety allows all types of intellectuals, business professionals, and smarty pants to reach the public.
My favorite mentor is mega babe Carla Franklin, host of the interactive discussion titled Feminism 2.0-Technology and Women’s Empowerment. Franklin is joined by philanthropist Maggie Neilson, head of tech changes at a major corporation, Tara Hughes, and digital correspondent for CNN, Kelly Wallace. All of these ladies bring a ton of experience to the table, sharing with audiences how technology can be used in support of feminism, and what women can do to support its growth.
Franklin told SXSW:
“The feminist movement entered a new era with the emergence of the internet and social media. Key advances in software development and mobile innovation allow women to better balance work and life, further career goals and boost advocacy initiatives.”
BUST is a perfect example of this development, and boasts the importance of reaching out through the ~*~iNtErNet~*~. As a happy little blogger and Generation Y worshipper of the Internet, I fully identify with how important technology is to…well, everything.
But more importantly, technology is crucial to developing the lives of women who are not privileged with cellphones as soon as they hit puberty, or a MacBook (or even easy internet access) to help them build PowerPoint’s in high school or to Google some pressing questions about life. Technology-based charities are helping to bridge the gap between the tech industry and underserved minority communities. In Kenya women are being given mobile phone based cards to help them save money and get the pre-natal care they deserve. There are tons of other health related initiatives popping up globally as well.
Another totally breath-taking aspect of this panel discussion is the acknowledgment of the importance of women's inclusion in developing technology, a career market traditionally considered and treated as a total boy's club. Franklin reflects, “Despite historic under-representation of women in technology, key advances in software development and mobile innovation have been, and continue to be driven by women.” Franklin is a living example of how smart woman-cookies are leading the world. She has more then 14 years of experience--split between Deloitte Consulting, IBM, and Bain Consulting. She is a certainly a force to be reckoned with.
When asked about her greatest achievement she said, “I am most proud of my fight against a man who cyber stalked me.” It is apparent that Carla Franklin knows what is up, and has no problem laying down her tech-savvy sass within the cyber community. We have faith in her.
The full list of Interactive conferences for SXSW can be found here. You can also follow Carla Franklins’ blog here and get amped for ladies to rule the future of technology. Our time has come!!
Images courtesy of SXSW and Impatient Optimists.