5 Reasons Why Women Aren’t Applying to Speak at Your Conference

I’ve lately seen some men tweeting about the lack of women applying to speak at their conferences. Questions along the lines of “Where are they? Why are they not applying?”

Perhaps one reason is the relatively few number of women out there in the tech world.

But I think there are others.

  1. Austin*? In August? Are you f$#*king kidding me? 🌡
Nope. No, thank you.

Even if somebody other than me pays for the flight/hotel, unless you’re giving me free mezcal margaritas by the pool while men in branded Patagonia vests fan me with palm leaves, I’m good.

*Austin is just an example city- you get the idea.

  1. You Don’t Have a Code of Conduct 🙄
It’s 2018 Y’all. Get it together.

Some conferences have them, far too many don’t. For those in the “don’t” category, it’s probably an oversight. But it does send  the unfortunate message that folks are not giving the subject proper consideration, that it’s not important. Conferences, much like the workplace, need to have a code of conduct not only to protect themselves  but to protect their attendees

It’s important to display expectations and values for attendees as well as a protocol and escalation policy for attendees who experience issues. As an attendee, I do not feel comfortable attending a conference that does not  protect my safety.

It’s wishful thinking to assume everyone will behave well.  Unfortunately, the days of assuming “We’re all adults here” have  passed (as evidenced by the #MeToo movement). If your conference has purposely decided to not have a code of conduct, I would love to understand your reasoning. Maybe the organizer has not experienced sexual harassment on the conference floor. Still,  such policies should be mandatory.

  1. Your Website Just Has Pictures of Men on It. 
Actual gif from a tech conference.

So, did no women attend the last event? Not  one? As a woman in tech, photographers and videographers chase me down for b-roll footage and interviews for their site. I know there’s not a lot of us, but maybe feature one or two ladies so we know we won’t be alone. I appreciate the short bathroom line, but come on, y’all.

That’s me. Be like DockerCon– feature women in your promotional content. 🐳

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. I’m Busy 📆
It’s Me.

I get asked to speak at a lot of conferences. I also have a full-time job. I also have a partner at home that I like to spend time with. I also have an apartment I pay rent for. I also have plans to attend RuPaul’s DragCon that month. I also am learning to say “no” this year. Anyway, I have a lot to do, and speaking at a conference that week doesn’t work for me. So, I didn’t apply.  Travel burnout is real, yo.

  1. We Are in Limited Supply 🦅🐯🐘
Truth is, we’re all too busy giving talks at other conferences 💅

But seriously, post your CFPs early. Again, there are far fewer women in this industry, and those of us who enjoy speaking often get booked out. Ask directly, and ask your friends for recommendations.

Feel free to link to this article any time you see any more posts about a lack of women submitting to CFPs. Happy conferencing! Hope you left enough room in your suitcase for those oversized men-sized’s t-shirts (C’mon order some in women’s sizes)! 😉

Journey On, Janes!

 

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