The Illusion of Inclusion—Exposing Fabricated Diversity in Tech Conferences

The tech world faces a new low.

Recent investigations have uncovered that DevTernity, a prominent developer conference, has been fabricating female speaker profiles to artificially boost diversity figures. This deceit raises critical questions about the authenticity of inclusivity efforts in tech.

Software engineer Anna Boyko, touted as a featured speaker at the DevTernity conference, was found to be non-existent. Despite her profile being listed since January 2023, no one at her alleged employer Coinbase had heard of her. Further digging revealed more fictitious entities like Alina Prokhoda and Natalie Stadler, supposedly representing leading tech firms, who also turned out to be fabrications.

Why Create Fake Profiles?

The motive behind these fabrications seems to be a response to diversity concerns. By creating phantom female speakers, the organizers aimed to present a facade of inclusivity, sidestepping genuine efforts to diversify.

This issue isn’t isolated to DevTernity. OpenAI’s recent board reshuffle has resulted in a lineup without any female representation, reflecting a broader issue in the tech industry where decision-making remains predominantly male-dominated.

This practice of fictitious representation is not just about filling quotas; it’s a concerning trend that undermines genuine diversity efforts. There are numerous qualified women and underrepresented groups in tech who are more than capable of contributing meaningfully to these conferences.

A Call to Action

We’re not reinventing the wheel here. Organizations like Women of Web3, London Women Leading Web 3, and DevelopHer UK are just a few examples of groups actively promoting real diversity. It’s high time for the tech industry to shift from superficial displays of inclusivity to authentic engagement and representation.

The tech industry needs to do better. Simple.

We can either continue down a path of illusionary inclusivity or make a concerted effort to truly understand and represent the diverse voices that make up our world. The choice we make today will shape the technology of tomorrow.