A not-for-profit platform that aims to connect event organisers and female speakers has been launched with the aim to bring more female voices to industry conferences and events.
Quoting research by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), that suggests that 30% of speakers at industry events are women, new tech platform WomenPresent is out to tackle gender disparity at events. Failing to have women keynote speakers, subject presenters, moderators and panellists, they say, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy as fewer women put themselves forward to speak leaving events and the audience the poorer.
WomenPresent is creating a global, searchable database of women experts to help organisers in their search for women speakers.
During the first phase of the launch, which will focus initially on the tech industry in the UK and US, expert female speakers will be manually matched with these speaking opportunities.
WomenPresent is run by co-founders Susan Pierce, (Customer Engineering Manager, Cloud for Marketing, Google); Cadi Jones, (Beeswax Commercial Director and Head of Partnerships at Bloom UK, a professional network for women); and Tom Jenen, (Director, Oriel Ventures); and WomenPresent Partner (and Mindshare Chief Product Officer) Ruth Zohrer.
Jones (pictured) said: “We’re seeing a vicious cycle at the moment where women are absent from panels and discussions, so it’s less likely they’ll put themselves forward for such speaking opportunities. All-male keynotes, like the agenda seen earlier this year at CES in the US, are a real problem and we’re determined to stamp this out with WomenPresent.”
Any women wanting to put themselves forward for speaking opportunities can do so via www.womenpresent.com. Businesses with speaking opportunities can also log the sessions and the expertise they are seeking via the website.