Women’s Conferences and Male Speakers

We need to talk.
This morning, it has come to our attention that one of our partner organizations, an organization that has a multi-year, multi-city history of organizing great conferences and events for women in tech, is being criticized because they have offered a single speaking slot to a man.

 

At this time in our history, more than ever, we feel we all need to be open to diverse points of view.

What do we want? To be fairly given the opportunity to share our stories. To be judged on our merits. To have the chance to be visible and be heard. To be treated with respect.

Everyone deserves this opportunity and, in this case, the speaker in question has a unique point of view to share. And the conference organizers felt this information was important enough to break with their long tradition of all-female speakers.

At Innovation Women, we are primarily targeting conferences where women are usually absent, ignored or under-represented. Where the conferences are all-male and all-pale. We are working directly with event organizers to get every woman who wants to the chance to speak and tell her story. Our goal is gender-balance and diversity. We welcome allies, just as we did last Saturday.

Our feelings on the matter? While it’s our job to be greedy on your behalf, and find speaking engagements for every one of our speakers, we also feel it is better to work in a spirit of cooperation with event managers in order to get better opportunities and create better, more diverse conferences and events. We also want our speakers to be judged on their merits and messages, and not based on their gender, race or sexual-orientation, or height, or weight, or any of the reasons people may be biased against them, unconscious or conscious bias.

What do you think?  Let us know, because this is super important to us.  We’re here to serve you.

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