The 2015 Web Summit, which featured speakers from Internet darlings such as Instagram, Slack, Tinder, and countless others, is always looking for opportunities to transform the technology community. Their major initiative to celebrate women in technology in 2016 event is such an example.

For many of us who work in the technology sector, it's hard to ignore the gender gap: the industry has long had a significant problem in this area. In fact, when attending conferences including but certainly not limited to Web Summit, it's hard not to look around and notice that imbalance. That's why, for the 2016 Web Summit, its organizers are encouraging prospective attendees to invite a female entrepreneur as their guest.

As part of Web Summit's commitment to help change the male to female ratio in the tech industry, it is inviting 10,000 female entrepreneurs to attend the 2016 Web Summit as its guests. If you'd like to invite a female entrepreneur, you now have the ability to help change the ratio by sending a free ticket to the female entrepreneur of your choice. The entire process, amazingly, takes less than a minute.

The Commitment to Change initiative, as Web Summit refers to the campaign, is combating an issue the tech sector is acutely aware of. By many accounts women only make up 30% of the technology sector, but at some of the largest and most influential tech companies, the numbers are even more dire. Twitter has reported that females fill 10% of its technical jobs, with its leadership only 21% women. Those numbers are 17% and 21%, respectively, at Google.

"By giving away 10,000 tickets to female entrepreneurs as part of our commitment to change we hope that it will, in some small way, contribute to solving the problem," says Sinead Murphy, Director of Live Events and spokesperson for the Commitment to Change campaign. Having previously worked in the music industry, Murphy became acutely aware when she joined Web Summit that female participation in the tech sector was an issue. Murphy believes that the Commitment to Change initiative "is a small step in the right direction along a path that the tech industry as a whole needs to move down. "

Early returns on the campaign seem to be pretty positive: in the first week of the campaign, over 5,500 female entrepreneurs were invited. Current Web Summit attendees-or merely fans of the initative-are encourages to send a free ticket to a female entrepreneur of their choice at https://websummit.net/change.

Web Summit 2016 will be held on November 7-10 in Lisbon. In addition to the main Web Summit event, the initiative covers the organization's other main conferences including Collision in New Orleans and RISE in Hong Kong.

Published on: Nov 13, 2015