“I think that the next Steve Jobs may well be a woman,” he told journalists at the Web Summit conference in Dublin yesterday. “The reason I say that is that for so much of the world, women are an untapped resource.”
Sculley, chief executive of Apple from 1983-1993, added that an increasing number of women are getting a technical education.
“You see them moving into leadership positions, so we’re getting role models, in industry, science, medicine, national services and government,” he said. “If I think back to when I graduated from university, women had very few opportunities. They became librarians, teachers, nurses – it was pretty limited. We’ve gone through a dramatic change.”
However, Sculley’s comments are slightly at odds with those of actress and business woman, Eva Longoria, who spoke at the same event.
She argued that women are discouraged from going into careers based around STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.
“It’s something we have to change in our educational system,” she said. “It’s very hard to navigate the educational system in general, even more so when you’re a woman interested in these fields.”
“People tend to put women in boxes, she’s sexy, she’s ambitious, she’s young; women are very complex and the greatest advantage we have is that we’re underestimated and so what we can do is just continue to prove people wrong because women are all of those things at the same time.”
Longoria was interviewed on-stage by Guardian journalist Jemima Khan, who highlighted that “around 85 percent” of the conference audience were male.
Along with many other Silicon Valley tech giants, Apple has never had a female CEO.