I want to shed light on an issue that impacts women stepping into the spotlight.

The all male speaker line up at conferences and panels. Frankly, it annoys the hell out of me.

Considering how many amazing women there are who want to speak – and are experts – there is simply no excuse for an all male line up.

I have questioned organisers and added comments to their social media feed. Often, there is no response or they falsely claim “there are no suitable women to fill any of the speaking slots”.

When women don’t get to speak at conferences and panels it means that not only does the audience get a narrow perspective, women don’t get the public profile building opportunity that comes with being on the stage.

So what can you do about it?

Put your hand up
Proactively pitch yourself as a speaker to event and conference organisers. Don’t wait to be asked, go make it happen. Write your speakers profile including what you can speak about and start sending it out. (Check out mine as an example).

Get some training
I have very publicly talked about how I overcame my fear of public speaking by getting coaching and saying “yes” to as many opportunities as possible. So if you don’t think you know enough, or are not good enough – go find people to help you with your confidence and speaking skills.

Use your networks to link women with speaking opportunities
If you notice opportunities that aren’t right for you, then forward them to women who may be.

Find women speakers
Sounds simple. But if you’re organising a conference or event then ask around for names of great female presenters. Ask other speakers, women’s groups or Google past conferences. They are out there; you just have to find them.

Be an activist
Let organisers know that all male panels aren’t OK. If you see it, call them out. If you are a bloke, and get asked to speak at an all male event or panel, take the Panel Pledge. If you notice any send your photos or screen shots to “All Male Panels” Tumblr.

Here's to seeing you in the spotlight.

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Catriona Pollard

From Unknown To Expert
CP Communications

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