OURSA Conference

One of the worlds largest computer security conferences, RSA, has recently been in the spotlight for all of the wrong reasons. The conference, which is six weeks away, just released their lineup of keynote speakers, which contains 22 individuals, and only one of those are female. Even worse, the one female speaker, Monica Lewinsky, is not even in the security field, she is speaking about anti-bullying. There was a large uproar regarding this which resulted in the foundation of a new conference, ironically named OURSA, which was formed in a mere 5 days. It is a predominantly female created conference, with the help of allies, that will take place at the same date and time as RSA. The lack of representation isn’t a new issue though, since over many different conferences there has been a collective loss of inclusion of different minorities, including women. RSA responded to the conference by saying the keynote speaker list is not final, and “…it also blamed the lack of women in the field, where just 11% of positions worldwide are held by women.” Firstly, that is an extremely sexist response, but second, if the percentage of positions held by women are so low, wouldn’t it be inspiring to see more female keynote speakers to inspire the next generation? This will only be a one time event and will only be able to host 1000 people instead of the 43,000 that RSA hosted last year. Nevertheless, this will be a groundbreaking conference that will hopefully shed light upon the issues with diversity in the community and the promotion of inclusion within all groups.

 

Source:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2018/03/05/women-create-alternate-tech-conference-protesting-snub-big-security-confab/395323002/

 

-Becca Fried