March’s #WWTO showcases women in hardware

Women still earn 74 cents on the male dollar in Canada, and when you look at poverty, hunger, and violence the world over, it is women who suffer hard and women who suffer first. It has also been shown that when women and girls are healthy, educated, and empowered, they not only lift themselves, but everyone around them out of poverty.

These issues may seem far removed from the world of wearables, but we know that technology is a tool that has the power to disrupt the status quo — and the We Are Wearables Toronto team hopes to spark renewed interest in how we can use technology to better the lives of everyone, not just a select few.

For the March 28th edition of We Are Wearables, the team has partnered with futurist fashion brand Electric Runway to host Women & Wearables, an evening of celebration, discussion, and activism. The event shines a spotlight on female founders in the wearables space, and products designed with women in mind.

“We want person to walk away with a takeaway that they can do differently the very next day.”

In addition to female hosts, the event features an all-female cast of speakers who will take the stage just a few short weeks after International Women’s Day. The night includes keynote talks from VP of operations at Meta, Karen Kwan; CFC’s chief digital officer, Ana Serrano, and a panel with InteraXon founder Ariel Garten and wearables pioneer Kate Hartman and more.

“With the Women’s March on Washington and the global feminist movement resurfacing around the world, there has never been a more apt time to empower women in technology and raise the question: ‘How we can shape a more feminine future?’” said Amanda Cosco, founder of Electric Runway.

This is the second Women and Wearable Tech event We Are Wearables has organized, and the organizers are using this upcoming event as a platform to continue the conversation about equality, diversity, and representation in an industry typically dominated by men.

women and wearables

Last year’s women and wearables event

“We are encouraging people from all genders and industries to come and immerse themselves in the stories by an all-female cast of presenters and panelists of makers and creators; engage with builders first-hand with products in the demo area; ask questions, and have conversations with our attendees who are all there with the same mindset,” said said Paula Kwan, co-organizer of We Are Wearables Toronto.

Kwan added that she hoped that the over 400 guests attending leave with a renewed sense of hope for the industry, “And for each person to walk away with a takeaway that they can do differently the very next day. I hope that people come unguarded and come with empathy in order to watch, feel, and connect to the ideas around them. I believe that there is knowledge to be given, and taken, from the event we are working so hard to create not just because we want to, but because we have to.”

women and wearables

As part of the activism component of the evening, We Are Wearables has joined forces with IDEABOOST to host the Canadian Female Founders Hardware Cup — a showcase and celebration of Canadian female founders of growth-oriented startups building hardware and wearable products for the Canadian media and entertainment industry.

Six founder semi-finalists will be invited to pitch and demo at the March 28 event with one Canadian finalist chosen by a jury of judges to pitch and attend the International Hardware Cup hosted by Alphagear on April 19 in Pittsburgh. Submissions are now open for this pitch competition until March 20.

“IDEABOOST is thrilled to be working with AlphaLab Gear to bring the best hardware founder from Canada to their annual The Hardware Cup $50,000 competition in Pittsburgh,” said Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer at CFC. “That we, alongside We Are Wearables have opted to focus on female founders in the wearables space I think positions our startup ecosystem as a progressive and competitive one. So if you’re a female founder in the hardware wearables space, come show off your excellence on March 28th and join our pitch competition.”

The March 28 Women & Wearables event is a free event open to anyone eager to engage in a conversation and celebration in diversity within hardware and wearable tech.

BetaKit is a proud media partner of We Are Wearables Toronto.

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang

Jessica Galang is BetaKit's News Editor.