One of the SXSW panels I attended was Designing Experiences for Women, a good if not lightweight session on how to approach the design problems unique to women. (Short summary: treat them as people, figure out their problems as users, and attempt to solve them - but don’t make old stereotypical assumptions.)
Another great panel was Designing for Context. One of the panelists was Leah Buley, a designer at Intuit. She poked fun at her role on the panel by calling herself a “token woman” on her iPad during the session.
Then today I attended Khoi Vinh’s great talk on Mixel, which I’m enjoying again. He introduced his team, and I chose to follow Community Manager Joelle Alcaidinho on Twitter in addition to already following Khoi (and Mixel’s official account).
But in the evening, we got into a quick Twitter conversation that was at first about the long line to get into the PBS Sherlock event (MOFFAT!!!!) and later became about how she was being treated by some idiot drunks. For example. And then. It was embarrassing.
Similarly, after the aforementioned panel with Leah Buley someone else in attendance tweeted that she was “stunning”.
This isn’t news to women, but it should serve as a reminder that we’ve got a long way to go in the tech world. While none of these things are condoned by SXSW, obviously, they’re still happening here. It’s embarrassing, primitive, and is ultimately discouraging.