CMS Expo – Babe in the Big City (or, babe in a sea of dev dudes)

I had an interesting exchange with fellow content strategist and CMS Expo veteran, David Skarjune (@skarjune), on the way up to the post-lunch sessions: As I mentioned my upcoming Confab cameo, he pointed out that I will probably be in much more familiar company there. As in, 2:1 ratio of females to men, as opposed to the obviously imbalanced attendance here at CMS Expo.

This is not a new feeling. I’ve noticed similar gender discrepancies at user group meet ups and conferences of other CMS in Boston. Perhaps I brushed it off as yet another incongruence of New England’s tech scene. But alas, here I am in the Midwest, and still surrounded by dev dudes.

This is not to bash the men. They clearly know what they are talking about. But wouldn’t it be brilliant to see ladies like Kristina Halvorson (@halvorson) and Emma Jane Hogbin (@emmajanedotnet) and Liz Strauss (@lizstrauss) on the agenda for something more than the blatant marketing angle it provides?

As a newbie to the content strategy space, I hope to see conferences open up the scope of speaker recruitment beyond the sponsor Rolodexes, and truly acknowledge the spectrum of knowledge the ladies have to offer.

About the Author
Katie Del Angel

Formerly the Marketing Manager at Connective DX, Katie was responsible for content marketing and community building for the agency.

More articles from Katie Del Angel


3 responses… read them below or add one.

  1. John Coonen says:

    Define “blatant marketing angle.”

  2. John,

    As you and I talked about after the panel Q&A Wednesday, it’s often so hard to get females on a panel without seeming like it was done for the sake of balancing the panel, or getting that “token female” up there. Of course that’s not always the case. It all really boils down to “How do we get more females up there?”

    I think Jen Kramer said it best — the females need to start stepping up, and not just sitting back and waiting to be asked. My hope is that more smart ladies will get out there in general.

  3. The imbalance I pointed out is part of the technology industry, and yes I did notice last year that Confab was quite different and dominated by women–brilliant women, including Ann Rockley, who was one of the original proponents of the field with her 500+ page “Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy,” published in 2003, followed by some many others over the years.

    Obviously, Confab is not a feminist movement engineered by Kristina Halvorson. Perhaps this is one of those Mars/Venus things of human nature, for as the book says “Men Go to Their Caves and Women Talk.” In other words, men tinker with their Harleys, while women tinker with feelings, thoughts, and messages.

    The women at CMS Expo were invited for their chops, not their gender, as is true of the men at Confab. We are lucky to work in emerging practices that deal with community in new ways, not driven by old business and social mores that need to be reformed. For example, look at Drupal, the community-driven project that relied upon core co-maintainer Angela Byron ( to get Drupal 7 together—she’s a geek, she’s brilliant, she’s community savvy (“general cat herding” she says), and she’s a “webchick”!

    Katie, we need you and the new generation of digi-creative professionals to bring a clear move-on attitude to our communities of practice. Living in a country that is still struggling with GLBT equality makes it all the more important to see beyond gender,race, and sexuality. The intersections of Content Management and Content Strategy is a good place to start.

Leave a Reply to David Skarjune
  1. Fields marked with * are required.
  2. We will not publish your email.