As is to be expected from Saudi Arabia, a country firmly under the grip of Sharia Law, zero women attended the event. Perhaps more hypocritically, a single woman is yet to speak at a University of Qassim summit.
Oh how we laugh smugly because we live in Ireland, and sure we’ve got way more freedom than that.
Well not so when it comes to events. I know much has been written about this in the past, but what is going on with the event organisers of Ireland? I’m tired of it now. The reason I feel irked? The Marketing Institute conference, DMX, has two women speakers on its 2015 lineup. That is less than they had last year, because I was at it and I know I listened to at least three!
I tweeted this yesterday:
— Maryrose Lyons★ (@maryrose) February 3, 2015
In fairness, the event organiser called me, I’m hoping she wanted to discuss it in a constructive way, but we missed each other. I left a message yesterday and she hasn’t called me back. Digi women’s champion Pauline Sergeant tweeted today to say that she had tried to engage with the same person, but she wasn’t willing to listen.
@maryrose don’t know organiser was not very open about discussing it
— DigiWomen (@DigiWomenIRL) February 4, 2015
I hear that they are claiming it is because it is not possible to get women to agree to speak. To that I say – pull your finger out. Cultivate speakers throughout the year. Offer decent money. Maybe women aren’t up for speaking for piddly money because they earn more working at what they do? (Note: I have no idea how much the MII pays)
How come other events manage to pull in the speakers of an oestragenated variety?
- Image Magazine puts on excellent business events, with largely women speakers. (Disclaimer: I did speak at one of these myself recently)
- WXN also puts on excellent events with 90% women speakers.
- Festival of Marketing in the UK had a higher % of women speakers last year.
- Speakific is a place to look – many women on there (disclaimer: I am too!)
- And of course there is the great Womenonair (some marketers there?)
I can sort of understand the Web Summit’s male domination because tech is very male. But Marketing is a very female profession. There are lots of great women marketers out there. Why can’t more of them be invited to share their knowledge insights and witticisms on a stage and promote their careers and develop their reputations?
Don’t get me wrong: I am not in favour of positive discrimination, but for God’s sake can event organisers inject a little more oestrogen into their speaker lineups?
I know that this situation can’t last forever. Have you ever noticed the way messaging towards kids is these days? Cartoons, toys, story books – it’s all about strong females who do stuff and aren’t afraid to save the day. I can only hope that this has a profound effect on young minds and that education and growing up doesn’t filter out the ‘I can do anything’ beliefs.