A conference where the speakers are all women?

So – I was working on organizing a conference – a part of a series – and I was frustrated that prior conferences in the series had only or mostly male speakers. So I suggested for the new conference in the series we have only female speakers. Still working on pulling that off but probably won’t quite happen. So then I posted to twitter and Google+ the idea – and asked a question about it. I made a “storification” of this which you can see below the fold:


http://storify.com/phylogenomics/a-conference-where-the-speakers-are-all-women.js[<a href=”http://storify.com/phylogenomics/a-conference-where-the-speakers-are-all-women” target=”_blank”>View the story “A conference where the speakers are all women?” on Storify</a>]

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

6 thoughts on “A conference where the speakers are all women?”

  1. To judge from the discussion so far, no one quite seems to know what to think of it or expect from it — so I'd say it needs doing just to see what will happen.

    Also, since it won't be hard to fill the slots with good speakers who happen to be female, there's no need to compromise on the science in order to do the experiment, so what reason could there be NOT to do it?

    I'd like to attend. I think it would be interesting to be at a conference where women *have* to be listened to. So I'd also make sure all moderators, organizers, even tech staff are women — no males in any kind of “authority” at all — again, just to see what happens. Would it feel very different from regular conferences? Or would it be just like any other conference? I could make guesses but just like at the bench, I'd rather do the experiment!

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  2. Fun idea. If you decide to run with this I can lend some suggestions for 'up an comers' in the infectious disease ecology/evolution side or microbial ecology side. I know a few out of their postdocs into their early careers and of course I have my female senior science 'mentors' that I make a point of hearing speak at conferences from different fields. Although I'm sure you have a running list in your head as well. I hope this works out!

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  3. Very late addition but Jonathan just pointed ne here; wanted to say I have run several all-female boards and panels just to make a point about gender inequality (e.g. http://killerapp.iscb.org/2010.html – all-female judging panel; and a panel at the IHI conference this year, | web2011ihi Panel I). The funny thing was that no-one noticed that either event want entirely hosted/chaired/spoken by women! Frankly, I did not have to reject any male candidates to staff these workshops – it was not very hard to find excellent speakers and judges. Both events were a blast, btw. At a recent workshop made an effort to have > 50% chairs/speakers be women -http://www.chemistry.montana.edu/cobre/workshop/Program.html again, no problem, and no one made any comment. So: just do it!

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  4. Very late addition but Jonathan just pointed ne here; wanted to say I have run several all-female boards and panels just to make a point about gender inequality (e.g. http://killerapp.iscb.org/2010.html – all-female judging panel; and a panel at the IHI conference this year, | web2011ihi Panel I). The funny thing was that no-one noticed that either event want entirely hosted/chaired/spoken by women! Frankly, I did not have to reject any male candidates to staff these workshops – it was not very hard to find excellent speakers and judges. Both events were a blast, btw. At a recent workshop made an effort to have > 50% chairs/speakers be women -http://www.chemistry.montana.edu/cobre/workshop/Program.html again, no problem, and no one made any comment. So: just do it!

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