International Women’s Day has been honoring the social, economic, cultural and political accomplishments by women for more than a century. Themed this year around “Planet 50-50 by 2030” it’s looking ahead another 15 years to the world’s gender equality goals.

The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.

The the latest issue of CoFounder magazine pointed out that even country-by-country one third to half of entrepreneurs are women, only 3% of Silicon Valley technology companies are founded by women. Clearly this needs to be fixed.

To match with IWD’s “Step it Up for Gender Equality” theme and to show that things can be accelerated and not wait for another decade or a century, today, Arctic15 startup and technology conference based in Helsinki announces its goal to reach 50-50 parity in speakers already this year. To back this up, we are announcing 20 top level female speakers during International Women’s Day. The great group consists of founders, investors, executives and advisors:

  • Monique Morrow, CTO of Cisco
  • Marie Ekeland, Founder of Daphni VC
  • Anne-Marie Imafidon, Founder of Stemettes
  • Hala Zeine, SVP at SAP
  • Jenny Fielding, Managing Director at Techstars
  • Sara La Fountain, Entrepreneur and TV Chef
  • Reshma Sohoni, Founder of Seedcamp
  • Louise Fredbo Nielsen, Futurist
  • Mariam Naqvi, Founder of Fashion Footprint
  • Inka Mero, Founder of Pivot5
  • Uli Fricke, Founder at Triangle VC Group
  • Blanca Juti, Author and Advisor
  • Tuula Rytilä, CVP at Microsoft
  • Kati Levoranta, CEO of Rovio
  • Marieta Rivero, General Manager deputy at Telefonica
  • Jude Ower, Founder of Playmob
  • Sitar Deli, Founder of Connect Ventures
  • Colette Ballou, Founder of Ballou PR
  • Bindi Karia, Startup Advisor
  • Heidi Gutekunst, Founder of Amara

Come to listen, learn from, and especially to meet them at Arctic15 on June 2nd-3rd in Helsinki.

Ps. If you have a female founder in mind who could be a great speaker addition for Arctic15, please let us know by emailing to



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