Tag Archives: gender

How many women do you follow on Twitter? #MRX #NewMR

One of the best ways to identify lots of diverse people to speak at conferences is to follow lots of diverse people on social media. But do we?

With that question in mind, I turned to https://www.proporti.onl/, a website that says…

“Estimate the gender distribution of your followers and those you follow, based on their profile descriptions or first names. Many tech leaders follow mostly men, but I want to follow a diverse group of people. Twitter Analytics doesn’t tell me the gender distribution of those I follow, and it doesn’t try to identify gender-nonbinary people. So I built this tool for myself and put it on GitHub. It’s inaccurate and it undercounts nonbinary folk, but it’s better than making no effort at all. I want you to be able to do this, too. Estimate the distribution of those you follow and see if there’s room to improve!”

I’m cool with that so I turned to this tweet by Antonio Santos as a good place to start within the market research industry. I entered each one of these accounts (excluding @MRXblogs which is a bot that follows no one but me), in order to see how we’re doing.

On average, about 36% of the people these market research influencers follow are women.

Sadly, only 3 people follow roughly equal numbers of men and women, and only 2 people follow more women than men (you can guess who!). I’m one of them, but that’s only because I actively follow women and I’ve been using proporti.onl to monitor my status. Unfortunately, for about 43% of us,  one third or fewer of the people we follow are women. The curve is far from expected and could use a lot of improvement.

Fortunately, it’s easy to change that proportion. Lots of people have created lists of women on Twitter who specialize in different areas including marketing research, data science, analytics, STEM, and more. I keep a nice selection of those lists on my twitter account right here. However, here are some of my favourite lists.

  • Women in Data Science: I love this list. Search through the 1200 members and you’ll find tons of women who specialize in data visualization, statistics, neuroscience, RStats, business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and more.
  • Women Game Developers: 100 women who know AI, storytelling, games, user experience, digital marketing, customer relationship management.
  • BioInfo Women: 600 women who know about EEGs, fMRIs, neuroscience, computer science.
  • STEM women: 500 women who know data, engineering, cybersecurity.
  • Women in VR: So, um, these 150 experts know VR.

Now it’s your turn. Go check how many women you follow on Twitter, and then head on over to these lists to make some additions! Expand your world!

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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!

In which I rant about “we only choose the best conference proposals and we can’t help it if they’re mostly from men” #NewMR #MRX 

I’ve had this post on my mind for many months now but I’ve been hesitant to write it. It seems today is the day. 

If you’ve been following my speaker gender ratio post, you’ll see that I keep adding to the list conferences where fewer than 40% of speakers are women.  Today, I added several to that bucket. On top of that, Ray Poynter just pointed out that the nine new and genuinely deserving fellows of the MRS are all, you guessed it, men. Have women not made any important contributions? I highly doubt it. So today is the day. 

There are many different reasons for conferences to over index on male speakers but I’d like to address one reason in particular. Conference organizers regularly say they choose the abstracts that will be the most interesting and intriguing for their audience.  If that means that most of the speakers are men, then so be it.  Quality wins. As it rightly should. 

But.  

Men do not propose better topics than women.  Men do not have better ideas than women. Men do not propose more innovative nor more important ideas than women. This is truth. 

How do I know? I’m lucky that I get to go to a lot of conferences. I’ve been in the audience for literally hundreds of talks. I’ve seen lots of men give horrible talks. But, as expected, the vast majority of talks given by men are fine. Not horrible, not great, just fine. Most male speakers are awkward or forget what they were going to say or don’t speak loud enough or rush or go over or under time. Most men are basically acceptable speakers.  Such is the law of averages.  

To be clear, most women are also basically acceptable speakers. I, for one, know I’m an awkward speaker who regularly forgets what I want to say.  If the goal of conference organizers is to choose great speakers, well, I’m not seeing it. They could have randomly selected speakers by putting submissions in a hat and the quality of speakers wouldn’t decrease very much. It could even increase because the gems who keep submitting awkward proposals might actually get chosen. 

And when it comes to the topics of the talks, most talks that men give are fairly ordinary.  People like to think that THEIR talk is unique and innovative and offers a previously undiscovered point of view in their field but that’s usually not the case. The vast majority of talks given by men cover material that has already been addressed in twenty other talks at twenty other conferences and in twenty other white papers and fifty other blog posts. New material is exceedingly rare.  Our industry simply doesn’t move very fast.  

To be clear, most women also cover material that has been addressed in twenty other talks at twenty other conferences. Again, the topics I present are rarely truly new and innovative. If the goal was to choose innovative topics, I’m not seeing that either.  Once again, we could randomly choose talks with a magician’s top hat and the degree of innovation would… Well, actually, the talks might be more innovative simply because people who stink at bragging would finally have their papers chosen.  

Even better, random choosing based on top hats would increase the demographic diversity of speakers, and ensure speakers better reflect the diversity of submissions. 
My point is that men and women are similarly generally ok speakers.  Men and women give similarly ordinary talks. If submission acceptances for men outweigh acceptances for women, something is terribly wrong with how organizers identity “greatness.”

Maybe it’s time to completely rethink how conference proposals are reviewed.  Maybe it’s time to use only blind submissions where names and companies are removed. Maybe it’s time to find a way to remove writing style gender cues that unconsciously affect our perceptions. Maybe it’s time to consciously review proposals with the mindset that some people brag and exaggerate the importance of their work whereas other people stick to the facts and discuss their findings within the confines of appropriate generalizations.  Maybe it’s time to give the magician’s hat a chance – remove the obviously horrid submissions and then put every submission in the hat. 

It could only improve things.  Rant done. 

(By reading this far, you hearby commit to submitting to at least one conference this year. Thank you for being part of the solution. )

Insight: a force for good #MRSlive @TweetMRS #MRX 

 Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

Moving more with cancer by Emily Fu and Justin Webb

  • 77% of people with cancer are not active to recommended levels which reduces consequences of treatment, reduces comorbigiteis, reduces disease progression, decreases mortality
  • Imagine you have cancer and what would keep you from being more active, physical abilities are not as influential as you think, people have a huge knock to their confidence, feel depressed and vulnerable and frightened
  • Social support and social pressures are influential on behaviour, family is all about sit down and rest be safe, they fear injury or psychological damage
  • There is social stigma around cancer, around scars, and being self conscious, cancer is invisible for many people
  • For some types of cancer, finding a bathroom is a huge problem for getting enough activity, physical symptoms of cancer and surgery are problematic
  • People who were active planned it around treatment cycles, built things up slowly, didn’t get disheartened if they couldn’t do as much as they wanted
  • Need to reeducate via media – don’t take it easy if you’ve got cancer, get moving! Let people know exercise is safe. Created a ‘Get Active Feel Good’ pack for people and families

Creating a buzz around gender equality by Philly Desai and Nasir Nansir

  • Gender discrimination in Nigeria – violence, leadership, decision making
  • Five year program working directly with young people, empower through self-esteem, increase positive attitudes, change the rules by securing laws and budgets that respond to women’s needs
  • Must influence wider society through marketing communications types of activities
  • Quant study to explore attitudes and social norms, what do I believe, what do others believe, what attitudes and behaviora do not match up
  • Violence against women is widely condemned but common in practice
  • Younger people support women’s having more leadership but they expect resistance from society
  • Needed to create a brand identify which appealed to young people but does not alienate men 
  • [by the way, these notes are being written as my friend and diversity advocate @RayPoynter sits on an #AllMalePanel in the next room. He must be horrified. 😦 ]
  • Created a radio drama, created posters and billboards promoting diversity and 50/50
  • Www.iampurple.ng – website targeting young people on mobile [bet this site is truly mobile friendly!]
  • Site has 1 million visitors and 30 000 registered, have celebrities and popular people driving engagement
  • Men must be seen as partners, need to message to appeal to men, ‘our strength is not for hurting’
  • Craft messages that appeal to subconscious of target audience

Learning for tomorrow by Jackie Hughes and Catriona Ferris

  • It’s hard for big brands to “do good”
  • #Lifebouy campaign is about washing your hands more often to stay healthy which means buying more soap
  • It has to be at the heart of the brand purpose, functionality is no longer enough, brands with a purpose are growing faster, need to create a purpose
  • We learn by doing and experiencing, context, role playing
  • Let’s create a classroom, students, and bring experts to spark inspiration, bring insight in, get creative work going
  • Did one in London and one in Mumbai, brought in typical experts from India and Vietnam 
  • What is the meaning of education? More blackboards? More books? More kids?
  • There was playtime, colouring, books just like a real classroom
  • Spoke to moms and kids, spoke about real concerns about attending schools, fear of violence and rape, conflicts with kids working schedule, teenage pregnancy, as well as their hopes and dreams 
  • Sending kids to school is like setting them free
  • They wanted to activate the first day of school
  • Led to unicef campaign about the first day of school, first day of school means they are so grown up, one of the most important days of their lives, it’s on their way to their profession in life, it’s giving them a beautiful future, these are the first steps
  • Persia is helping 10 million children get a quality education. #FirstDayOfSchool

  

A behind the scenes look at choosing speakers for the Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research, by Susan Abbott #MRX #Diversity

Hi readers,

This is a guest post from my colleague Susan Abbot who was on the speaker selection committee for the Worldwide Conference on Qualitative Research. After reading an earlier blog post of mine about diversity of speakers, Susan decided to run the numbers on the conference and see how the conference did. These numbers can be seen in context with others on my conference comparison post.  I would be thrilled if other conferences followed suit because this type of transparency is how we can really determine where any problems may lie.


Overall

We received multiple proposals from the same speakers, in varying combinations. Any given name was only counted once, and counted in the place first recorded, which would have been in the order received.

Some proposals had more than one speaker. We counted only primary and secondary speakers.

Our keynote speaker is female. We did a search, and invited this individual to speak, we did not solicit proposals. Factors considered: wanted an expert on futures, wanted an expert based in Europe, wanted someone who would connect with our audience, wanted to be within our budget. We looked at three speakers from one organization as finalists, two males and a female, and felt the woman would connect better because she had some qualitative research background. She is not included in the numbers shown below.

 

Proposals received from:

Primary speaker gender Secondary speaker gender Totals  
Total count female 33 12 45 57%
Total count male 26 8 34 43%
Totals 59 20 79 100%

 

Program

The final program line-up is as follows.

I would note here that some people who were offered a speaking slot (including both males and females) declined the offer, for a variety of reasons.

As well, I believe one male secondary speaker was added after the session was accepted, and I didn’t try to take that into account.

Primary speaker gender Secondary speaker gender Totals  
Final Program Female 19 6 25 58%
Final Program Male 13 5 18 42%
Totals 32 11 43 100%

 

Process

We have a speaker committee of three people who have done a lot of conference planning work over the years.

In addition, I was involved in the initial discussions with the committee, and Kendall Nash, my co-chair, also participated in some of the final selections.

A consideration in forming the committee was to have at least one European (which we did, from the UK).

We did actively solicit speaker proposals through social media, through e-mail announcements with partner organizations, and so forth. The committee also invited noteworthy individuals to submit, and we made announcements at other industry events. Basically, looking for the best and brightest.

The initial review of proposals was blinded as to name and organization. It is difficult to do that entirely, because you see trademark phrases and styles in the proposal content that make it easy to guess, however I would say we worked hard NOT to guess.  Where people recognized the content, or had close friends or associates with a proposal, they disclosed this and/or recused themselves from discussions.

I have to say that we didn’t really give gender a lot of consideration in discussions.

After an initial independent rating of each proposal by the committee members, any session rated below a cut-off was not given significant further consideration.

We DID give region/country quite a bit of consideration, as we wanted to have a truly global program, which we do. Since we had many more proposals of merit than we had speaking slots, we did not have to sacrifice anything to get this global mix.

In our final deliberations, we considered our collective knowledge of the individual’s skills at presenting, as well as how often we had seen them on a conference platform recently. We also tried to ensure that the same people are not on the podium every year, even if they are really good speakers, because they already get a lot of air time for their ideas.

So, I am pretty thrilled to see that gender does not appear to have been a factor in our deliberations.

Gender is clearly a factor in how people choose to engage with QRCA – our volunteers tend to skew female, and I think that chapter meeting attendance also skews female. I’m not sure about overall membership, and there is really no way to know about participation in the workforce, as there are a lot of people who do qualitative and other marketing research that are not members of any organization. My hypothesis is that conference speaking is a more appealing way for males to participate in the industry than volunteering is.

 

Susan Abbott

Insight and Innovation

The gender split in #MRX conferences: 2016 edition

Rating conferences on gender ratios is not easy. Though we may want every conference to be 50/50 male/female, it doesn’t always make sense.

  • Not all industries are balanced on gender. For instance, qualitative researchers are much more likely to be female than male, and some regions in the world have very different employment rates for women and men.
  • Men and women don’t necessarily submit at the same ratio. For instance, maybe 70% of the submissions were male and thus it makes sense that 70% of the speakers were male.
  • Men and women don’t necessarily agree to speak at the same rate. A conference may offer equal numbers of acceptances to men and women but then it’s up to men and women to actually accept those offers. Conferences with 10 speakers can instantly drop from 50% female to 44% female if just one women declines the invitation.
  • Normal variation means that sometimes a conference will have more men or more women. That’s just how numbers work and you can’t fault an organization because one time, one of their conferences wasn’t perfectly equal. But when ‘random’ variation across every conference is consistently in the same direction, you’ve got to wonder what’s happening behind the scenes.

Regardless, the best way to be aware of whether there may be gender issues is to actively measure reality. My methods aren’t perfect. I can’t always tell the gender of a speaker from their name and so I manually check names in LinkedIn and other times I leave that speaker out of the equation. I never know the submission rate by gender and so I can’t defend a conference that has few female speakers even if they had zero submissions from women. If you can correct my numbers, then I absolutely welcome your help. And, if you’ve been to a conference that I haven’t attended, do let me know the numbers and I’ll add them here.

gender chart

TOTAL (Excluding AAPOR/WAPOR): 1845 men, 1096 women: 37% female

The Grades

A: Ratios between 47% and 50% – Huge round of applause for any conference that lands here!

  • TTRA June (Colorado): 194 speakers, 78 men, 89 women (cannot identify gender of many names) = 53% female
  • TMRE October (Florida): 126 speakers, 65 women, 61 men = 52% female
  • TMRE Consumer Insights May (California): 12 men, 12 women, 50% female
  • IIR Insight Tech: 22 speakers, 11 men, 11 women: 50% female
  • AAPOR/WAPOR June (Austin): 1463 speakers, 718 men, 745 women = 49% Male (Yes, you read that correctly. 745 female speakers.)
  • Quirk’s Event February (USA): 126 speakers, 64 women, 62 men = 49% Male  
  • LIMRA June (Florida): 39 speakers, 19 women, 20 men = 49% Female
  • NewMR February  (Global online): 27 Speakers, 14 women, 13 men = 48% Male
  • MRIA June (Canada): 63 speakers, 33 men, 30 women = 48% Female
  • EphMRA June (Frankfurt): 45 speakers, 24 men, 21 women = 47% female
  • AIMRI Under30 February (New York): 9 speakers, 5 men, 4 women = 44% Female. Although this percentage doesn’t strictly belong here, with 9 speakers it can’t get any more equal. 

B: Ratios from 42% and 46%

  • MRS Health February (London): 26 speakers, 12 men, 14 women = 46% male
  • PMRG May (USA): 37 speakers, 17 women, 20 men = 46% female
  • IIR New Face: 22 speakers, 12 women, 10 men = 45% male
  • Qual360 February (Berlin): 32 speakers, 14 women, 18 men = 44% female
  • Media Insights February (Florida): 56 speakers, 24 women, 32 men = 43% female
  • IIeX Health April (Philadelphia): 40 speakers, 17 women, 23 men = 43% female
  • NEMRA May (Massachusetts): 14 speakers, 6 men, 8 women = 43% male
  • ARF Audience Measurement: 58 speakers, 25 women, 33 men = 43% female
  • NEMRA May (New England): 14 speakers, 6 men, 8 women = 43% male
  • WCQR March : 43 speakers, 18 men, 25 women = 42% male. One of the conference organizers ran the numbers and determined that the ratio of submissions from men and women was the same as for speakers. You can read details about their speaker selection process here
  • MRA ISC May  (New Orleans): 43 speakers, 18 women, 25 men = 42% female
  • CASRO CRC, October: 72 speakers, 42 men, 30 women: 42% female

C: Ratios from 37% and 41%

  • MAGHREB SUMMIT January (Casablanca): 17 speakers, 10 men, 7 women = 41% female
  • MRS Travel March (London): 22 speakers, 13 women, 9 men = 41% male
  • ESOMAR LATAM April (Bogota): 32 speakers, 13 women, 19 men = 41% female
  • ESOMAR APAC May (Tokyo): 51 speakers, 20 women, 31 men = 39% female
  • Omnishopper July (Chicago): 67 speakers, 41 men, 26 women: 39% female
  • AMSRS September (Melbourne): 61 speakers, 37 men, 24 women: 39% female
  • BHBIA May (London): 39 speakers, 24 men, 15 women: 38% female

D: Ratios from 32% and 36%

  • MRS National March (London): 94 speakers, 34 women, 60 men = 36% female
  • MENAP Forum March (Dubai): 25 speakers, 9 women, 16 men = 36% female
  • ESOMAR congress September (New Orleans): 72 speakers, 26 women, 46 men = 36% female
  • CASRO Tech (New York): 11 speakers, 7 men, 4 women: 36% female 
  • PMRC Europe October (Berlin): 25 speakers, 16 men, 9 women: 36% female
  • Shopper Brain, June (Chicago): 23 speakers, 15 men, 8 women: 35% female
  • OmniShopper International, November (London): 31 speakers, 20 men, 11 women: 35% female
  • CXfusion April (Las Vegas): 53 speakers, 18 women, 35 men = 34% female
  • ARF ReThink: 141 speakers, 48 women, 93 men = 34% female
  • Febelmar Februrary (Brussels): 21 speakers, 14 men, 7 women = 33% female
  • MRA CEO January  (Florida): 12 speakers, 4 women, 8 men = 33% female
  • Sentiment Analysis Symposium July (New York): 15 speakers, 5 women, 10 men = 33% female
  • Shopper Brain Amsterdam (June): 21 speakers, 14 men, 7 women: 33% female
  • IIeX NA June (Atlanta): 194 speakers, 63 women, 131 men: 32% female

F: Ratios <32%

  • MRS Kids January (UK): 29 speakers, 20 women, 9 men = 31% male 
  • MRSI February (India): 35 speakers, 24 men, 11 women = 31% female 
  • IIeX Europe March (Amsterdam): 115 speakers, 36 women, 79 men = 31% female
  • IIR Analytics: 42 speakers, 13 women, 29 men = 31% female
  • ARF ReThink March: 140 speakers, 96 men, 44 women = 31% female
  • MRMW Europe: 54 speakers, 37 men, 17 women: 31% female
  • IIeX Latam: 68 speakers, 47 men, 21 women: 31% female
  • MRweek: 32 speakers, 22 men, 10 women: 31% female
  • MRIA QRC January (Toronto): 15 speakers, 11 women, 4 men = 27% male 
  • CASRO Digital March (Texas): 46 speakers, 14 women, 32 men = 30% female
  • CX Fusion: 53 speakers, 35 men, 16 women: 30% female
  • BVM Kongress April (Berlin): 28 speakers, 8 women, 20 men = 29% female
  • Market Research Exchange, Florida (May): 41 speakers, 29 men, 12 women = 29% female
  • AMA Analytics February (Arizona): 18 speakers, 5 women, 13 men = 28% female
  • NMWF April (Dubai): 36 speakers, 9 women, 27 men: 25% female
  • Insight Show MW May (London): 123 speakers, 30 women, 93 men: 24% female
  • CX week May: 25 speakers, 6 women, 19 men = 24% female
  • MRMW APAC March (Malaysia): 39 speakers, 8 women, 31 men = 21% female
  • ESOMAR Big Data: 27 speakers, 22 men, 5 women: 16% female
  • Text Analytics Event April (Chicago): 19 speakers, 3 women, 16 men = 16% female
  • SampleCon January (USA): 40 speakers, 6 women, 34 men = 15% female
  • Predictive Analytics World April: 28 speakers, 4 women, 24 men = 14% female

Upcoming ratings: ESOMAR congress September, AMSRS congress September. (Please let me know of others.)

What can YOU do?

  • Submit! You can’t complain if you don’t join the cause. Take the plunge and submit your first proposal ever this year! Make it easier for conference organizers to find you by taking the first step yourself.
  • Encourage! Look to your left and look to your right. Have your neighbors submitted to a conference yet? Well, maybe right now is the perfect time to encourage them to just do it!
  • Demand diversity! When you notice that conference speakers reflect a very narrow group of people, point it out and ask for more. Organizers want to give you want you want. But first, you need to tell them what you want. And, still, sometimes organizers don’t realize what is happening.
  • Recommend! Remember that awesome speaker you saw at the last company meeting? At the last chapter event? Email your favourite organization and let them know you found a speaker for them.  Organizers can’t ask them to speak if they don’t know who to ask.

What can conferences do?

  • Look at submissions from a new point of view. Realize that people from different walks of life write differently and that some proposal styles may have greater appeal to you. Notice how much the writing style is affecting your choice of content and remove your style preferences from the equation. Recognize that some equally high quality proposals brag and exaggerate, while others are factual and modest.
  • Ask sponsors to promote diversity. As conference organizers, only you know when the collection of speakers has veered away from a diverse group. Take a proactive approach and let sponsors know you care about representing the entire community. Ask sponsors to send great speakers who don’t fit into traditional boxes – really old, really young, differently abled, non-white, women.
  • Ask for recommendations. Not just of the most popular speakers who know other popular speakers. Ask your fringe speakers about other awesome fringe speakers.
  • Go to Twitter. There are tons of lists of women speakers and experts. My Lovestats account has several lists you can use.  WIRe has a list a women speakers.  Just ask.
  • Share your numbers. When it turns out that one of your conferences seems skewed, let people know that the submissions were also skewed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if 30% of your speakers were female if only 30% of your submissions came from women.
  • Be the change we want to see. Even if your speaker ratio matches the submission ratio, if it’s not mostly equal, do something about it! Don’t wait for submissions. Hunt for awesome speakers who didn’t submit.

 

Demand that your conferences be Diversity Approved! (Tweet this post!)

Similar posts for other conferences

Related Posts

Because it’s 2015: I challenge you to make your #MRX conference Diversity Approved

Demand that your conferences be Diversity Approved! (Tweet this post!)

When Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was asked why his cabinet was 50% male and 50% female, his answer was simple.  Because it’s 2015.  Such a simple answer to a long standing problem.

As I look back over 2015, I see that “because it’s 2015” didn’t apply to every market research conference. Some conferences had speaker lists that were 70% male.  Some conferences had speaker panels that were 100% male. No conferences had attendee lists nor industry lists that were 100% male let alone 70% male.

There are many reasons that men might be over-represented as speakers, but few that are acceptable.

  • Random chance.  As a lover of statistics, I accept that random chance will create some all male panels.  But since I’ve never seen an all female panel, random chance is not what’s at play here. If you’d rather see the math, Greg Martin calculated the chance of having all male speakers here. It’s not good.
  • 70% or more of submissions were from men.  That also is an acceptable reason.  If women aren’t submitting, then they can’t be selected. So on that note, it’s up to you ladies to make sure you submit at every chance you get. And don’t tell me you’re not good enough to speak. I ranted on that excuse already.
  • You haven’t heard of any women working in this area.  This excuse is unacceptable.  You can’t look for speakers only inside your own comfortable friend list.  Get out of your box.  Get online. There are tons of women talking about every conceivable industry issue. Find one woman and ask her for recommendations. You can start here: Data science, Marketing research, Statistics, Tech.
  • The best proposals happen to be from men. This excuse is also unacceptable. It demonstrates that you believe men are better than women. You need to broaden your perception of what ‘better’ means. Men and women speak in different ways so you need to listen in different ways.  It’s good for you.  Try it.

  • Women decline when we ask them to speak.  It’s a real shame particularly if women decline invitations more often than men. But any time a woman declines, ask her for a list of people she recommends.  And then consider the women on that list.  No women in the list? Then specifically ask her if she knows any women.
  • It’s a paid talk and they only sent men.  Know what? It’s okay to remind companies that their panel isn’t representative of the industry. You can suggest that they send a broader range of people.
  • We didn’t realize this was a problem. Inexcusable. Diversity has been an issue for years. People have been pointing this out to market research conferences for years.  The right time to fix things is always now.

When was the last time you prepared a sampling matrix balanced on age, gender, and ethnicity and then were pleased when it was 70% female, 70% age 50+, and 90% white? Never, that’s when. You stayed in field and implemented appropriate sampling techniques until your demographics were representative.  This is absolutely no different.

diversityapprovedSo, to every conference organizer out there, ESOMAR, CASRO, MRA, MRIA, ARF, MRS, AMSRS, ESRA, AAPOR, I challenge you to review and correct your speaker list before announcing it.

  • What percentage of submissions are from men versus women? Only when submissions are far from balanced is it acceptable for the acceptance list to be unbalanced.
  • Are there any all male panels? Are there any all female panels? (By the way, all female panels talking about female issues do NOT count.)
  • Are more than 55% of speakers male? Are more than 55% of speakers female?
  • Is the invited speaker list well balanced? There is zero reason for invited speakers to NOT be representative.
  • Did you actively ask companies to assist with ensuring that speakers were diverse?

If you can give appropriate answer to those questions, I invite you to publicly advertise your conference as Diversity Approved.

Will you accept this challenge for every conference you run in 2016? Will you:

  1. Post the gender ratio of submissions
  2. Post the gender ratio of acceptances
  3. Proudly advertise that your conference is “Diversity Approved”

Demand that your conferences be Diversity Approved! (Tweet this demand!)

The gender split in #MRX conferences: we’re not there yet – 2015

I’m behind on conference tallies this year but I think this is a better way to do it anyways. I’ll continue to add all conferences to this page as the year progresses. Do note that I mainly attend quantitative research conferences so other types of conferences may have different results. Also note that, for the most part, quantitative research conferences don’t generally have a gender bias in terms of attendance – men and women are about equally likely to go.

These counts represent the number of speakers listed in the program not including any changes made after the fact. They are also based purely on my interpretation of people’s first names or their photo. If I didn’t know whether a name was likely male or female, I ignored it. Thus, counts will not accurately reflect reality. If you are able to provide a more accurate tally, I’d be more than happy to correct my numbers.

In addition, these numbers say nothing about the gender split that submitted applications to speak, and the gender split of those who were invited to speak but declined.

AAPOR Hollywood      (To come)

 MRIA Toronto      33 male, 43 female, 43% male
Given that the entire history of MR has been ridiculously in the other direction, this is a welcome and delightful change.  The normal curve dictates that sometimes there are more male speakers and sometimes more female speakers.  I do believe this is the FIRST EVER conference on the female side of the normal curve.

 MRA San Diego       30 male, 24 female, 56% male
I’ll call this a reasonable gender split.  It can’t be 50/50 and this is a nice distribution.

 

imageIIeX Atlanta            126 male, 53 female, 70% male
Ok folks. What happened here? This is too far from 50% for me to be okay with it. All the round tables were led by men. All the DIVA award judges were men. Here are the options: Skilled women aren’t in digital, tech, and innovation areas of MR.  Women are choosing not to speak at this conference.  Women weren’t sought out to speak at this conference. Which problem area can YOU address at the next conference.

ESRA Reykjavik            415 male, 412 female, 50.2% male

In other words, if you doubted whether there are enough female speakers in the survey/research/polling niche, I can tell you that there are at least 412 of them. Most of the women I heard speak were good speakers and they knew their material. If you need a speaker, get the speaker list from this conference.

Quirks’s Event            40 female, 49 male, 55% male

 

 

question markQRCA Orlando         25% male

Well, QRCA is a tough call. Everyone in the research industry knows that qualitative research is dominated by female researchers. But what exactly is the true ratio? Is it 25% male, 5% male, or 35%? If you’ve got those stats, i’d love to put them here so that readers can judge for themselves whether the speaker ratio here is acceptable.

AMSRS Sydney        57% male

CRC St. Louis           23 men, 18 women; 56% male. (Early program)

ESOMAR Dublin      98 men, 59 women; 62% Male. (Early program)  We’re still a couple of weeks away from the official event so things may change but as of today, the program is leaning male dominated. Not good Esomar!

The Presenter Gender Split #IIeXap14 #IIeX #MRX

iiexbannerAs always, I like to take a look at the speaker mix for conferences. Sadly, IIeX didn’t quite make the cut. With 25 female speakers and 49 male speakers, the ladies were 34% of the speakers.

Why. Tell me why.

I know it’s not because the speaker organizers didn’t try. I know it’s not because there aren’t qualified female speakers. So what it leaves is this.

  • Women think they aren’t qualified (Sorry, there are plenty of qualified women)
  • Women think they have nothing new to talk about (Sorry, women have plenty to talk about)
  • Women are too busy (Sorry, you’re no busier than anyone else)
  • Women are terrible speakers (Sorry, you’re no worse than anyone else)
  • Women aren’t submitting speaker proposals —- Well?
  • Women are turning down speaker requests —- Well?

So ladies, the next time a request for proposals comes around, submit a proposal! Think about that awesome project you just worked on and turn it into a presentation. Ask a great speaker to mentor you so you feel more comfortable as a speaker yourself. Make the time to do it. It’s good for you and your career. Diversity comes in all forms and you are one of them.

Submit. Speak. Make me proud. 🙂

 

Other Posts

If you haven’t seen #FeministHackerBarbie yet…

stupid barbie computer engineerIf you haven’t yet seen the book “I can be a computer engineer” starring Barbie, you’re in for a disappointing treat. The title sounds great but when you read that Barbie needs two boys to actually do the programming for her, you’ll start shaking your head.

 

Fortunately, to the rescue comes Feminist Hacker Barbie, a website where you correct all the words to the story. However you see fit. You’re welcome.

Given the backlash, some people have taken the meme to the complete other extreme making the boys look stupid, the point has been made. Barbie CAN be a computer engineer. By herself. Without being rescued by someone else.

Follow the tweetstream here.

Do feel free to share the link to YOUR Hacker Barbie and I’ll include it here.

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