Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Are you using women moderators to cover all-male panels? We see you.

In Stop Using Women Moderators to Excuse All-Male Panels, our friends at Gender Avenger have an eye on the practice of window-dressing diversity at conferences by putting women into visible moderator slots, presiding over otherwise all-male panels.

This practice is so common that it's on my list of the 9 times you should turn down an offer to moderate a panel, and I recommend you let the organizers know your reason, so this practice will be stopped someday. So I welcome Gender Avenger's attention to this problem. On GA, Soraya Membreno writes:
A moderator of a panel or debate serves as a champion of the audience. The panelists, on the other hand, speak for an industry and are brought in as experts to offer insight the audience does not have. Although moderators are undoubtedly important, placing the bulk of the women in your conference in this role doesn’t actually address gender balance, and does little to promote women’s voices. So while I would never discourage a woman from serving as a moderator, it bears stating: it is not enough.
Conference and event planners and organizers: Are you listening?

(Creative Commons licensed photo by USFWS-Mountain Prairie)

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