Apple puts female tech leaders centre stage

Apple made headlines around the world as two of its female executives took to the stage at the Worldwide Developers Conference.


The world’s tech leaders can shape more than just the industries their products reach, as their influences also extend to the social issues surrounding these fields.

This is especially true in a world where STEM skills are constantly in demand and there still isn’t a gender balance in IT jobs or in the fields of science and engineering.

Because of this, Apple’s presentation at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) was about much more than just the technology present on stage. While these devices and services are still significant in their own right, it was how they were presented that has hit headlines around the globe.

Women lead WWDC conference

On Monday (June 8), Apple’s appearance at WWDC brought with it a notable change compared to its usual outings. For the first time since 2010, a female executive took the stage at an Apple event. The last example of this involved one of Zynga’s directors, Jen Herman, who demonstrated the Farmville mobile game at a keynote presentation.

This time, the conference focused on Apple executives, with two women leading the presentation at different stages. Vice President of Apply Pay, Jennifer Bailey, discussed the future of mobile payments for Apple’s services when she led the conference.

Ms Bailey’s place was soon taken by another female executive, as Susan Prescott took centre stage to present the company’s upcoming News app.

How will this change the IT job marketplace?

This event is the latest in a long line of attempts from Apple to redefine the dominant demographics in the tech industry. The company’s Diversity Report, released last August, highlighted its commitment to promoting an inclusive environment both within itself and the wider industry.

Apple freely admits that it still has further work to do in this area, as the report indicates the company is still predominantly made up of white males. A little over half (55 per cent) of Apple’s workforce class themselves as white, and 70 per cent of all employees are male.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said the numbers are concerning, and Apple will make an effort to create a more diverse workforce over time.

“As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page,” he said.

“They’re not new to us, and we’ve been working hard for quite some time to improve them. We are making progress, and we’re committed to being as innovative in advancing diversity as we are in developing our products.”

Facebook’s figures in its own diversity report released last June were also similar, and the social media giant highlighted the need for a diverse team if the company wishes to offer a global product.

“At Facebook, diversity is essential to achieving our mission,” said Global Head of Diversity Maxine Williams.

“We build products to connect the world, and this means we need a team that understands and reflects many different communities, backgrounds and cultures.”

With two major players in the tech industry making sustained attempts to promote diversity, there is every chance that new jobs will reflect these changing trends.