More Women Speakers.
Last year, I attended a few of a series of monthly web design talks. During drinks after only the first or second talk, one of the organizers of the talks said that they needed more women speakers, and did I have something I'd like to speak on? The organizer's theory was to be that if women were speaking, more women would attend the talks.
I declined. I didn't feel that I had any unique topics that the group would be interested in, and I certainly didn't feel I had any great technical chops worth speaking of. I suppose I could have cobbled something together about building web pages for optimization, but I was doubtful that the topic would have been interesting to the group.
The 'more women speakers' idea rankled me. I assure you, I judge the value of a talk by it's content outline, and perhaps the 'cache' of the speaker - certainly not the gender of the speaker.
In fact, 'woman speaker' has a certain air of amazing spectacle to it. Think about the terms 'woman astronaut', 'woman engineer' and even 'male nurse'. The very inclusion of gender in the term makes it a spectacle.
Tags: conferences controversy speaking