“At a public conference I won’t serve on a panel of two people or more unless there is at least one woman on the panel, not including the Chair.”
Frequently asked questions
What happens if we have tried to find women but there is nobody available?
Try harder. I’ll be happy to suggest some women who would be much better than me. You may need to organise your conference a little earlier to be sure of getting women on your panels.
What happens if a woman drops out and we end up with a men-only panel?
There are many brilliant women – please find someone else to take her place.
What if a woman drops out at very short notice?
I get it: shit happens. You could cover yourself by planning to have two women on the panel (gosh!). But if I’ve agreed to be on a panel I won’t let you down if something genuinely unforseen happens. (But if this means a male-only panel, you’ll have to forgive me in advance for the fact that I am going to tease you about this in the meeting.)
Organising conferences is hard enough already?
The Gendered Conference Campaign has some great advice for conference organisers.
What else can we do?
- Keep drawing attention to the issue. If you are at a conference with male-only panels, call it out.
- Audit your events and keep track of the trends
- Be mindful about promoting women through social media
Who has taken the pledge?
Another list of people who have made the same commitment: www.manpanels.org
Coverage and Inspiration
Last year, six leading Washington think tanks presented more than 150 events on the Middle East that included not a single woman speaker. Fewer than one-quarter of all the speakers at the 232 events at those think tanks recorded in our newly compiled data-set were women.
“The mysterious absence of women from Middle East policy debates“ – Tamara Cofman Wittes and Marc Lynch, Washington Post Money Cage, January 20th 2015
Because I believe you cannot conduct constructive discourse on international issues without the participation of women, I recently decided not to speak on any panels that did not include women. I’m not writing this to seek a pat on the back. But because any discussion that does not include women’s perspectives or that reflexively excludes or fails to seek out the women who are leaders in their fields in virtually any and every subject on this agenda will be deeply inadequate and will only compound distortions of gender bias that exist because of our long history of systematic exclusion of women’s views. I’d much rather participate in discussions where the organizers actually demonstrate that they are committed to producing the best possible work product.
“Still waiting for Davos Woman” by David Rothkopf, FP Magazine, January 22nd, 2015
I often attend panels or discussions dominated by men, especially in technology. This is problematic since it sends the signal that only men have the expertise in their given field. To their credit, some men are initiating change.
“Three Ways To Change The Ratio of Women Receiving VC“ – Leah Eichler, Inc Website, November 10th 2014
There is no topic that cannot be discussed by women. There is no circumstance that would prevent one from inviting women. There is simply no rational excuse for excluding women. And, if you are invited to join a panel with no women, you must conclude it is being organized by fools.
“Why I will no longer speak on all-male panels“ – Scott Gilmore, Macleans, October 4th, 2014