Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Man Boy(cott) 2011

This is a repeat topic, but it's something that keeps happening, so here it is again.

There is a conference that is of some interest to me. It's not a super-major conference and it is not urgent for me to attend, but it will be an interesting group of people, and I expect the level of intellectually stimulating conversation and exchange of ideas to be high, making the trip worthwhile. I think that I will go to the conference.

And then I look at the list of keynote speakers: all men, no women. I won't specify the exact number of speakers, but let's just say it is in the vicinity of 10, so it's not as if there's just one or two.

The conference topic is one that involves many women researchers worldwide. I can easily think of several without even trying. By "without even trying", I mean that without specifically trying to think of women researchers -- when I just think of people doing interesting research in this field -- many of these people are women.

[Note: I am rather peripheral to this topic, so am not implying that I think I should have been invited; I do not think this.]

Sometimes when I encounter these all-men slates of keynotes for a conference that I'm not sure I want to attend, that fact tips the balance for me and I do not go. If, however, I think the conference will be overall worthwhile anyway, I may go, and I will likely speak with the conference organizer, asking about the lack of women speakers.

Last time I wrote about this, I asked for comments on whether an all-men slate of keynote speakers would be a non-issue, a maybe-issue, or a deal-breaker for readers in their decisions to attend conferences. There were many interesting comments, with of course the usual wide range of opinions. Today I am asking the same question, but in poll form. This tends to increase the number of responses, but of course we lose a bit of the nuance, so feel free to leave a new or repeat comment on the topic in addition to voting. 

Does an all-men speaker slate influence your decision about whether to attend a conference?
No, it is always a non-issue for me.
It can be a deciding factor.
Yes, it is a deal-breaker for me.
pollcode.com free polls 

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