Tim Cook has hinted that today’s WWDC keynote won’t be an all-male affair like in previous years. Speaking at Sunday’s orientation session for Apple’s WWDC scholarship program, Cook added that diversity is “the future of our company.”
“I think the most diverse group will produce the best product, I firmly believe that,” Cook said, according to a report from Mashable.
Cook noted that there has been a lack of female role models in the tech industry, and promised that Apple is hoping to change that. But the company’s first diversity report, which was released last year, revealed that its workforce is 70% male.
“I think it’s our fault — ‘our’ meaning the whole tech community,” Cook explained. “I think in general we haven’t done enough to reach out and show young women that it’s cool to do it and how much fun it can be.”
When asked about the lack of female presenters during previous WWDC keynotes, Cook said with a smile, “Look tomorrow and let me know what you think. You’ll see a change tomorrow.”
In an effort to produce more female role models in tech, Apple is now reaching out to junior high, high school, and college women. The company is also “spending a lot more time with historically black colleges,” Mashable reports.
The only female member of Apple’s senior leadership team is retail chief Angela Ahrendts, who joined the Cupertino company in 2013 after leaving Burberry. We may well see Ahrendts on stage today talking about Apple’s retail plans, and indeed the upcoming retail launch of Apple Watch.
There are other female executives at Apple, including Lisa Jackson, VP of Environmental Initiatives, and Denise Young Smith, VP of Worldwide Human Resources. But it seems unlikely they would be asked to speak at what is predominantly a developer event focused on software and services.
Of course, Apple may have invited women from within the community — such as app developers — to come at speak at the event.
We’ll have to wait and see what WWDC brings later today. You’ll be able to watch the event live on your Apple TV, Mac, or iOS device — and we’ll be live-blogging the whole thing so you don’t have to miss any of it.