I thought we had this single-gender #speaker thing sorted out in #MRX #NewMR


Some of you might remember a long-running and regularly updated post I created last year listing the gender ratios at marketing research conferences around the world. I stopped doing it because an entire year of data is sufficient for an industry that depends on data to see what’s happening. The data showed that women were vastly underrepresented as speakers at conferences. Conference organizers could see that this was an industry issue, not a “just them” issue. The data gave us the perfect opportunity to make great progress in how we source speakers. 

I’ll admit it can be difficult to see the problem but Twitter and Facebook make the job of spotting single gender panels much easier. Now, I truly don’t care about single gender, or single race, or all young, all old, all differently abled, or whatever the panel bias is. I DO care when the only type of biased panel I ever see is middle-aged, white, male panels. Has any #MRX conference ever had an all black panel not talking about black issues in #MRX ? Or an all woman panel not talking about women’s issues in #MRX? That’s the problem. That’s the statistically improbable problem

So that’s why posts like this are so disappointing. 

There are literally hundreds of Twitter lists labeled as #WomenIn_________, insert industry category. (Some of the relevant lists are on my twitter account.) There are hundreds of websites listing #WomenIn_________.  There are Facebook groups, google plus groups (yeah, tons of techies there!), Reddit groups, you name the digital channel, they have #WomenIn___________ groups. There’s #WomenAlsoKnow. There are thousands of lists of women experts if you look for them. You don’t even need to ask a woman/black person/differently abled person if they know another woman/black person/differently abled person who is an expert on a topic. You just need to know how to use the google. Or the internet explorer if you work for a company that still operates in the dark ages. 

But with that tweet, and the emails that came my way to complain, I guess I ought to do the counts again. I hope that while we may have not reached peak equality, e.g., at least 45% of one gender, we at least have shown improvement. I hope that instead of 35% of speakers being women, that at least 40% of speakers are women. 

Please do send me PDFs of any market research conference agendas you have saved. I’d appreciate the help. So would your friends and colleagues. My gmail address is anniepettit. 

Fingers crossed!

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