By Clara Brenner & Julie Lein (Co-Chairs, MIT Sloan Women in Management Conference) We make up 3% of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Our startups secure only 9% of venture capital funding. And we still earn, on average, 76 cents for every dollar a man earns for the same job. Overwhelmingly, women are not rising to the top.
The theme of the 2012 MIT Sloan Women in Management Conference is “innovating through adversity.” In addition to celebrating the successes of women, the conference will pose hard-hitting questions about the systemic gender inequalities that still exist in business today.
Our speakers will explore concrete ways in which women can overcome these inequalities. It’s time to turn a critical eye on ourselves to figure out what we, as women, can do on a macro level to eliminate the gender gap in business and leadership.
The conference will feature an outstanding lineup, including:
- Marissa Mayer: Fortune's #38 Most Powerful Woman in Business, VP and first female engineer at Google
- Laura Sen: 1 of only 12 female CEO's at the helm of a Fortune 500 company, BJ’s Wholesale Club
- Jennifer Siebel Newsom: writer/ director/ producer of smash hit Miss Representation
- Three of only six women on Fortune's 40 under 40 list
- Controversial and hard hitting discussion, including a networking lunch with panelists, industry experts, sponsors, and MIT professors
The conference will also feature a spotlight on “Why don’t more women go big? Assessing the world of female entrepreneurship from all sides of the table.” Entrepreneurship is an important domain where women are traditionally underrepresented, and we certainly see that at MIT. Even in a school where women achieve parity, many of the faces in the entrepreneurship community are male.
The spotlight will include: Alexandra Wilkis Wilson (Founder & Chief Merchandising Officer, Gilt Groupe), Katrina Markoff (Owner & Founder, Vosges Haut-Chocolat - and one of Fortune’s 40 under 40), Joanna Rees (Venture Capitalist & Founder, VSP Capital; Moderated by CNN anchor Fredricka Whitfield.
In our effort to encourage and showcase female founders, we are grateful for the support of the MIT Trust Center for Entrepreneurship — particularly that of Managing Director Bill Aulet, who truly proves that men can be huge advocates for females. We are also indebted to the Kauffman Foundation and Lesa Mitchell, who led a session on female entrepreneurship at MIT that discussed concrete ways to change the conventional gender boundaries in startups.
We hope you can join us for an exciting discussion. You can buy tickets and learn more here.
We look forward to seeing you on February 10, 2012 at the 2012 MIT Sloan Women in Management Conference as we tackle controversial topics through candid conversation in an intimate setting conducive to genuine networking. Follow the conference on Twitter at @MITSloanWomen or on Facebook here.
Editor's note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Clara Brenner (Co-Chair, MIT Sloan Women in Management Conference) second-year MBA student at MIT Sloan, where she is Co-chair of the Sloan Women in Management Conference, Co-president of the Real Estate Club, and a Forte Fellow. Prior to attending MIT Sloan, she worked in the real estate development and program management industry in Washington, DC as a LEED Accredited Professional. She graduated magna cum laude from New York University with a BA in History. About the guest blogger: Julie Lein (Co-Chair, MIT Sloan Women in Management Conference) is a second-year MBA student at MIT Sloan focusing specifically on social impact, entrepreneurship, and venture philanthropy. Prior to attending MIT Sloan, Julie worked for a political polling and consulting firm based in San Francisco. Julie is active in the community and served on the Board of Directors for Mission Learning Center. Born in Russia, she graduated from Stanford University with a BA in Public Policy.