Yesterday I went to a conference for the voluntary sector on tech and social media. The audience was an even split, in fact possibly more weighted towards female attendees. The scheduled speakers for the first half of the day? Entirely male. The leaders of the sessions in the afternoon which were unconference style? An almost even mix, taking into account the workshop sessions.
Now, there were what felt to be subtle intimations that I should not be complaining if I were not prepared to stand up at the front myself. There was equally, I think, some assumptions that I was in some way upset to not be asked.
I'm nothing to do with the voluntary sector right now and I am not a social media expert. I am not famous for anything. I have nothing to speak about and I didn't see the call for speakers, more importantly. Had I had something to say, and seen the call for speakers, I absolutely would have offered. I'm not much scared of a room full of people any more.
The fact still remains that the other women in the room weren't at the front either. And as I commented at the time, this was not an accusation, the conference yesterday was no more guilty than every single other conference or unconference I have been to, though unconferences tend to be slightly better, especially govcamps for some reason.
I'm really bored of it.
But most of all, very most of all, I'm still boggling at the irony of one of the female organisers asking an entirely male panel why they thought there weren't more female speakers.
So, I'm going to ask you, because I know there are many women who read this. Why don't you offer to speak at conferences? What is it that holds you back from running unconference sessions? Why are we massively unrepresented at the front and yet have plenty to say online and across social media?