Shoptalk, a retail show where more than 8,000 industry changemakers gather each year to collaborate at scale, says every speaker at its event in 2020 will be a woman. This includes main stage keynotes, track speakers, interviewers and moderators—a total of more than 225 speakers. Shoptalk’s fifth annual event will be held on March 22-25, 2020, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
“At Shoptalk, we always strive to be a catalyst for the positive transformation of retail—we have also, from the very beginning, been a huge advocate for women in our industry,” said Zia Daniell Wigder, Shoptalk’s chief global content officer. “We’ve seen women founding companies, driving startups forward and rising through the ranks at brands, retailers and tech companies, yet progress has remained woefully slow. This is simply unacceptable and untenable.”
The underrepresentation of women in senior roles isn’t unique to the retail industry: there are now more college-educated women than men in the workforce, yet the percentage of S&P 500 companies led by women still remains at just 5 percent.
“Speaker gender parity in 2020 would have been relatively easy, but it would not have shifted the dialogue in the way that we have done consistently,” said Simran Rekhi Aggarwal, founder and president of Shoptalk. “Is this all-female speaker approach extreme? Absolutely, but we think extreme problems require extreme solutions.”
To continue Shoptalk’s commitment to women’s leadership in retail, starting in 2021, the event will feature 50/50 male and female speakers every year.
“We have always worked hard to do the right thing, no matter how difficult or inconvenient that might be,” said Caroline Farley, Shoptalk’s chief growth officer. “We’ve always set new standards for the industry, and we are setting a new standard again. Incremental change just won’t get us there.”
Shoptalk’s groundbreaking move—a first in large-scale events—is intended to propel the industry forward and showcase many incredibly talented women who are working to transform retail in every way. Some of Shoptalk’s speakers include C-level executives from a wide range of companies including Lowe’s, Kellogg’s, Pizza Hut, Build-a-Bear-Workshop, E.l.f. Beauty, Sperry, Ipsy, Birchbox, Lively and Tradesy.