When women get together, they can take on pretty much anything, all they need is some organising.
This can be said for anyone to be honest, especially my fellow union activists, however this blog is particularly focused in eliminating all-male panels, conferences and events. If you've read any of my previous posts around the Social Media for Women Conference I organised back in 2013, you'll know this is one topic very dear to my heart. We've had many a healthy debate upon the reasons why but we could do that all day (and some of us do) and get nothing achieved. That's why I made a big point and setup a conference that had all women speakers and workshop leaders, but that was still inclusive of all to delegates.
I didn't pick these women just because they had boobs, but because they were sh*t hot at their jobs and were my go-to people in their sectors. The event was a massive success and hopefully set the mark for others.
Recently a group of us techie women started a conversation on Twitter after what sounded like an impactive talk on the Diversity in Tech topic at a recent mixed tech event, and decided to meet up and chat in person further. You know with my productivity head on it needed to be a useful meeting and I'm so glad it was!
So, some feedback out of the group was, not an uncommon one, but that event organisers didn't know how to find women and people from other diverse groups and backgrounds to invite to speak. Unless you write the call for paper (CFP) or call for speaker (CFS) in such a way it sounds inclusive, some women won't bother applying. So where do you seek out those that are already up-for-it, well speakers databases of course.
A handful of groups and organisations have been founded to do just that! So here's a by no means definitive list of where you could start looking for your perfect speaker.
A fab directory that has upto now been using Lanyrd and marking people's user accounts with the Articulate Speaker logo. With Lanyrd down, it's hard to say atm what's happening, but the Articulate website is still open for applications.
The pledge that the panel, conference or event will have 50% gender split
Linking founders, groups and schools together. I'm a regular founder that goes and talks to young people, it's awesome!
Girl Geeks UK
Kinda says it all, Geeky Girls (Women) who are happy to share with groups.
The WISE Campaign
I've been part of the WISE Campaign since it was UKRC (The UK Resource Centre for Women) and is still my go-to source to advise people when looking for support, or to support others in STEM.
The North West Tech Community
For this one you need to sign up as an organiser to get access to the speaker directory, but if you are interesting in being a speaker, fill in the form on the website. Also a great list of groups in the Manchester and surrounding areas.
Women who are coders who are happy to speak at conferences and represent the underrepresented.
And for good measure here's some more corporate based ones....
And to finish it off a fab list of networks for women in STEM...
Also a fab blog from Meri Williams aka @Geek_Manager about what to consider to make your conference as inclusive and awesome as possible! https://medium.com/@geek_manager/broadening-the-responses-to-our-confere...
Hopefully this will help you on your journey to find someone right for your event, or at least will inspire you to cast your net wider than your mates circle for invitees.
If you know of any UK and US platforms that are fab, please let me know and I'll add them to this list!