A gaggle of feminists took to social media to complain about Ivanka Trump’s keynote speech at the recent 2020 International CES show in Las Vegas. Every year, technology companies across the globe attend the show with their latest inventions and innovations in consumer electronics.
The self-made entrepreneur took the stage at the world’s largest technology conference to speak on “the path on the future of work” in an interview with Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Organization, which organizes the annual event. Speaking at the event, Ivanka said she was a “big believer in innovation” and spoke at length about the Trump Administration’s policies on jobs, the government’s role in the private sector, and the necessity of updating worker skills in the face of technological advancement.
Despite her insights, self-proclaimed “women in tech” opted to denigrate her presence at the event, decrying her for her lack of “relevant industry credentials,” according to Quartz. The publication, which largely supports the hackneyed complaints about Ivanka Trump, said that the criticism was “infused with backlash against her politics and inexperience.”
Brianna Wu, a failed candidate for Congress and self-proclaimed “software engineer” was a leading voice among her detractors. Wu, who calls herself the woman who “fought the Alt-Right and won,” is best known for her vocal opposition to GamerGate, which took the game industry by storm in 2014 and remains something of a bogeyman commonly blamed by tech journalists as a precursor to the Trump presidency. Wu, whose credentials include developing a mobile game called Revolution 60, accused Trump of appropriating women in tech.
“Ivanka is not a woman in tech. She’s not a CEO. She has no background,” Wu proclaimed. “It’s a lazy attempt to emulate diversity – but like all emulation it’s not quite the real thing.”
“There are thousands of qualified women working at major companies that could deliver a keynote,” added Wu, whose jealousy about Trump’s presence is as clear as day. “There are thousands of women engineering the products at CES that could deliver a keynote. There are dozens of important women journalists that could deliver a keynote.”
“Ivanka is not one of us,” she tweeted. “Frankly, she would not be welcomed in women in tech circles because her politics harm everything we fight against in our careers. #CES should be ashamed of itself. And journalists should stand with us in their coverage,” Wu complained.
Rachel Sklar, a cofounder of Change the Ratio, who condemned CES for inviting Trump. “This is a terrible choice on so many levels but also – what an insult to the YEARS AND YEARS of protesting how few women were invited to keynote & being told it was a pipeline problem while similarly-situated men were elevated. There are so many great, qualified women,” she tweeted. “Shame.”
Carolina Milanesi was equally condemnatory in a Forbes op-ed. Writing for the publication, the author lamented that there are “many more women who are in tech and are entrepreneurs who could run circles around Trump on how technology will impact the future of work.”
Perhaps this is true, but do any of them have Ivanka Trump’s clout? No, I didn’t think so. What better way is there to draw attention to women in technology and discuss the issues than to get someone with an actual media presence.