15:44 GMT17 April 2021
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    CES, an annual technology show previously known as the Consumer Electronics Show, organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), has long been criticized for its male-dominated community and the all-too rare presence of women as keynote speakers.

    The CES annual technology trade show announced last week its choice of Ivanka Trump - daughter and senior adviser to US President Donald Trump - as a keynote speaker at the annual in Las Vegas-based technology event hosting the most recent products in the electronics industry.

    “CES has consistently proven to be one of the most influential technology events in the world and I am excited to join this year for a substantive discussion on the how the government is working with private sector leaders to ensure American students and workers are equipped to thrive in the modern, digital economy,” the Trump daughter said in a statement released by CES.

    In addition to criticism that CES consistently receives over the rare appearance of women on its stage, organizers of the annual event are now facing significant pushback for their choice of the president’s daughter as a keynote speaker for the January 2020 show.

    Tech commentator Rachel Sklar was one of those who strongly criticized CES for its selection of the Trump daughter as a keynote speaker, particularly as the latter has no experience in the technology sphere.

    “This is a terrible choice on so many levels but also – what an insult to the YEARS AND YEARS of protesting how few women were invited to keynote & being told it was a pipeline problem while similarly-situated men were elevated,” Sklar tweeted on Friday.

    “There are so many great, qualified women. Shame,” she added.

    Cindy Chin, chief executive of the CLC Advisors consultancy and founder of Women on the Block - calling for the inclusion of women in technology - pointed out that CES keynote speakers should be chosen for their background knowledge of technology.

    “There needs to be more systematic representation of speakers across the board and not just for keynotes. It would be better if the background of the keynote speaker actually fit the industry it is serving and inspirational rather than talking heads and political,” Chin said, cited by The Guardian.

    Gary Shapiro, CTA's CEO, claimed that CES welcomes Ivanka’s keynote speech, as she will share her “vision for technology’s role in creating and enabling the workforce of the future.”

    Netizens slammed the selection of the Trump daughter as a technology event keynote, noting that she "has nothing to do with tech". 

    "Out of all the wonderful female tech leaders, you chose Ivanka, who barely knows how to use her phone (and obviously doesn't know how to use secure email)," a user tweeted.

    The Trump daughter is slated to appear onstage at the CES 2020 event, which will take place between 7-10 January in Las Vegas, Nevada, alongside CTA CEO Shapiro, to discuss what the organization is characterizing as “The Path to the Future of Work”.


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