Why women speakers on stage matters
Women speakers are role models
Gender discrimination in conference's speaker panels recently reared its ugly head when the preeminent chemistry conference posted a list of two dozen confirmed speakers without including a single woman. A group of female scientists promptly called for a boycott, but faced backlash from a prominent male colleague who dismissed their efforts as “trendy whining about supposed ‘gender inequality’”. Similarly, the TEDxKids event on "Sustainable Future" that will soon take place in Brussels, has announced a number of prominent speakers, alas, nearly all of them being male. It is important to understand that having women speakers on stage really matters.
It is true that hard sciences and energy industry remain predominantly male, but smart and competent women also exist in those fields, and it is just a matter of homework to try to find them. The justification that “one would not want to decline a great male speaker just because he is male, or add a female speaker from the field just for the sake of balance" is often used, and is an argument that any competent woman in those fields does not like to hear. The truth is that the speakers are often invited, so there is no need to "decline" anyone, but finding competent women would just require a bit more effort. Sadly, when feeling public pressure, the so-called gender balance is often created not by inviting women as speakers, but by having them as event facilitators or workshop leaders. This assigns them to traditional female activities: coordinating and teaching, not high visibility leadership roles.
Could you benefit from a female role model? Check out the 3Plus Mentoring Programmes
Lack of women role models
Lack of role models has been identified as one of the main reasons for the lack of women in science and technology. As they say: "You can't be what you can't see". Therefore, targeting girls and younger female students, and presenting them with examples of strong, inspiring and competent women is crucial, and often works on a subconscious level. It a real pity that events aimed at younger audience do not use the opportunity to make a difference here.
I actively participate at "Green light for Girls event", a great initiative, taking place each year at the International School of Brussels. At this fantastic event, at which about 300 girls participate at various workshops related to science and technology, the world is turned upside down, at least for a day. The plenary talks are given by inspiring and charismatic women, and facilitators, armed with all the expertise and leadership qualities, are largely male.
And whether one likes to believe it or not, it does make a difference who is allowed to be on stage and who is not.
What do you think?
Found that interesting?
Learn more about our services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
Dates for the Diary
JUNE 6-8TH 2019 - OMBUDSPERON EUROPEAN WOMEN’S LOBBY BRUSSELS
Download and listen free podcasts
How to Create an Effective USP What is a USP? Our Unique Selling Point or UVP (Unique Value Proposition) is our key core message about where...read more
How to Rethink the Modern Workplace for Gender Equality New research shows that diversity and inclusion is a top priority for leaders. So why...read more
Menopause in the workplace In this podcast with Nicki Williams award winning author, keynote speaker and Founder of Happy Hormones for Life,...read more
How to Cultivate Empathy in the Workplace Nancy Milton, international business communications expert, keynote speaker and author, share some vital...read more
Taking Care of your COW Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is...read more
The importance of Hard Talk Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us tips to achieve the lasting communication...read more
When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about female rivalry and competition between women. Some...read more
Goal setting tips to boost your career The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and...read more
Sexism: How to stage a Bystander Intervention in the Workplace In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions...read more
How to Get Noticed by Head Hunters & Recruiters In this power coaching podcast, we're going to tackle one of the questions asked multiple...read more
The dangers of long term unemployment for women are different to the problems that men could face. We need to take a look at what the problems are, and how we can best handle them.read more
AI branding is sexist, as it is designed through a sexist lens. But why is this a problem for the real world?read more
If we rename soft skills as essential skills, will people finally give them the recognition they deserve?read more