For a conference so focused on the future of media, the Allen and Co. annual Sun Valley conference sure does have a lot of old white dudes this year. Of the more than 300 people who have descended upon the elite, press-free deal-making conference of the year there are just 17 women, and 286 men, according to The Globe and Mail. The Sun Valley conference has always been an old boys club—it only opened up to women and African-Americans with two "unprecedented panels" focusing on the two groups back in 1998. Before then, only one woman ever was invited to the conference. So, yeah, this is "progress." But it's a little concerning that 15 years later not much has changed, especially since this year the conference apparently will more than ever focus on the digital future rather than "traditional deal-making," according to the New York Post. The future should involve women, right?
To be fair, it does involve some power women, who, will both attend and participate in the week of panels and deal-making that happens at the Idaho resort. The attendees via Variety include familiar names like Sheryl Sandberg, Melinda Gates, Diane von Furstenberg, and Susie Buffet, daughter of Warren. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is notably missing from the list. But, Sandberg and Gates are both leading panels, "prestige appointments at this gig," as described by New York magazine. (Though Melinda will co-host with her bigwig husband Bill.) Unlike that groundbreaking conference in 1998, however, the talks don't focus on women or minorities but "Voices of the Valley" and a "chat" with Bill and Melinda.