For the first time since 1997, Apple included female employees in one of its keynote presentations, with Senior Vice Presidents Jennifer Bailey and Susan Prescott both taking the stage Monday at the company's 2015 Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple said their inclusion marked a renewed effort to give women a higher profile in the company.
Bailey became just the seventh woman to present at an Apple keynote when she stepped into the limelight at San Francisco's Moscone West Center to announce new features for Apple Pay. Later in the presentation, she was followed by Prescott, who used her time on stage to present Apple News, a new publishing tool for media companies.
Apple's first female keynote presenter was Ellen Hancock, who took the stage at the MacWeek MVB conference in 1997 when she was the company's chief technology officer, according to Gizmodo. Since then, Apple has had other women present, but all have come from partner companies, not Apple itself.
Ahead of the developer conference, CEO Tim Cook told Mashable diversity would be a key focus in the keynote. Despite that, the presentation was light on minorities. As a saving grace, the keynote featured an appearance by rapper Drake and ended with a performance by R&B artist The Weeknd, both of whom are black.
Diversity has been a huge struggle for the tech industry. Google last year released a transparency report of its workforce demographics, which inspired other companies, including Apple, to do the same.
Apple's own workforce is just 11 percent Hispanic, 7 percent black and 30 percent female. The lack of diversity in tech is an issue that is spilling over into the demographics of San Francisco and the rest of the Silicon Valley region, creating an area critics say is quickly becoming too homogenous.