Y Combinator, a major Silicon Valley accelerator, announced that they are holding a Female Founders Conference that aims to bring women together to discuss their entrepreneurial journey in tech. The event, to be held on March 1 at YC’s Mountain View campus, is a one-day event hosted by YC’s female leaders — Kat Manalac, Kirsty Nathoo, Carolynn Levy and Jessica Livingston. Female founders will share their experiences and offer startup guidance.
“Back in December, Paul sent me an email pointing out that there are now a lot of successful female YC alumni and suggested we put on an event where they could share their experiences to encourage other female founders,” said YC co-founder Jessica Livingston. “I’d been thinking about similar ideas, so we said, ‘Let’s do it!'”
“If I were considering starting a startup, I know I’d be very encouraged by hearing how other women did it,” she said.
Female entrepreneurs versed in startup life will appear, including Eventbrite founder Julia Hartz, Homejoy founder Adora Chung, VMawre founder Diane Greene, and YC’s own Jessica Livingston.
The application deadline to attend is February 3.
This comes on the heels of some recent controversy involving comments made by Y Combinator founder Paul Graham.
In a December 2013 interview with The Information, Graham gave seemingly sexist answers to certain questions about discrimination against women.
He then went on to defend himself on his own blog. Throwing the Female Founders Conference has been in the works ever since then.
Outside of Startup School, Y Combinator holds conferences every year or so. Most of them focus on educating and equipping the young startup founder. In 2011, the startup accelerator had an Ad Innovation Conference, and in 2012 YC held a couple of events, “Let’s Talk Startup” in Canada and “Work At A Startup” in Mountain View.
The conversation around “Women In Tech” has been going on for what seems like ages, with no real end in sight.
One school of thought believes that bringing more attention to female founders separates them even more from male founders, as it gives off the sense that a successful female is news whereas a successful male is expected. Still others believe that the only way to inspire more women to get involved in tech entrepreneurship is to show the success of the few who have come before them.
Whether there’s a right or a wrong isn’t clear, but it is obvious that the conversation isn’t ending anytime soon.
Here’s the full speaker list for the Y-Combinator Female Founders Conference:
Adora Cheung, Founder, Homejoy
Diane Greene, Founder, VMware
Julia Hartz, Founder, Eventbrite
Elizabeth Iorns, Founder, Science Exchange
Ann Johnson, Founder, Interana
Jessica Livingston, Founder, Y Combinator
Jessica Mah, Founder, inDinero
Kathryn Minshew, Founder, The Muse
Danielle Morrill, Founder, Mattermark
Elli Sharef, Founder, HireArt
Jamie Wong, Founder, Vayable