Michelle Obama to Silicon Valley: ‘Are you ready to have women at the table?’
On Tuesday, Michelle Obama spoke at WWDC, Apple’s annual developer conference, and during her address, she urged the tech industry to keep women and people of color in their industry and make real efforts to diversify.
“Girls walk away from tech and science. … There’s something about how this subject is being taught,” said Obama. “You guys are smarter than that. You’re better than that, let’s figure it out.”
She added that “we have to want to” want women in technology, which is where she issued her challenge to the men at the conference: “And that’s where I look to the fellas in the room and say, ‘Are you ready? Are you really ready to have women at the table? Then make room.'”
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) June 6, 2017
While the conference address was mostly attended by Apple developers, who had been there for the three-day conference, the front rows were filled with high school students, the majority of whom were girls. Several of those students had the chance to meet the former first lady in person before her speech.
She also spoke to those in the room about influencing their families and communities, saying that change starts small.
“Too many of us want to be big influencers … but we don’t want to confront our own families on stuff [we] care about,” she said. “Don’t underestimate the value of what you can do in your own communities.”
“This nation, this planet is going to be facing some tremendous challenges. We are in a room of problem solvers. We are in a room full of creators. Are you ready for that?”