Susan Fowler

SXSW 2019: Susan Fowler

The New York Times Technology Op-Ed Editor Susan Fowler came to the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) festival and conferences in downtown Austin. Fowler led a keynote speech featured session called “The Power of a Story with Susan Fowler” on Saturday March 10 at the Austin Convention Center.

Fowler’s keynote speech centered on her time as a former engineer working at Uber and how she, and many other women working at tech companies in Silicon Valley, struggled with issues such as sexual harassment and discrimination against women. She wrote an essay about her time at Uber on Feb. 19, 2017 and this essay forced Uber to face consequences for the actions of its higher-ups. Many publications such as Recode, Fortune, and The New York Times reported on this.

About Susan Fowler

Susan Fowler speaks with festival-goers after her keynote speech panel ends.
Susan Fowler (R) speaks with festival-goers at Featured Session: The Power of a Story with Susan Fowler during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Austin Convention Center / Photo credit: Rita Quinn/Getty Images for SXSW

Susan Fowler is a central figure in the #MeToo movement. Named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2017 as one of the silence breakers, Fowler is the former Uber engineer whose viral blog post ignited an ongoing, worldwide conversation. That’s Fowler’s public narrative, so far. But her personal story—a home-schooled science nerd, a successful woman in STEM against incredible odds—is equally fascinating. In uplifting talks, she tackles a variety of topics, including how regular people can affect positive change on a global and personal scale.

Keynote Speech Recap

Susan Fowler starts off her keynote speech with an important lesson from her past.

While Fowler was able to shed light on what happened to her and many other women engineers at Uber, it’s important to understand that NOT all companies in Silicon Valley are corrupt.

Fowler talks about one occasion where Uber decided NOT to make company leather jackets for women because there weren’t enough women on staff… WHICH IS ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT.

Despite the not-so-great stuff that happened at Uber, Fowler stated that she and other women did try to make the best out of the situation. They loved their work and they wanted to make Uber a better place for women to work at. They spoke up.

Has anything changed since the beginning of the #MeToo movement? Fowler says it’s both “everything and nothing” that has changed.

Fowler brings up an important lesson regarding catalyzing change for the better in the world.

Fowler reminds the audience toward the end of her keynote speech about the importance of words and telling stories.

You can follow Susan Fowler on Twitter.

Featured image credit: Susan Fowler

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