What It Will Take to Improve Diversity at Conferences

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What It Will Take to Improve Diversity at Conferences

September 24, 2019

Too many speakers at events and conferences are white men. And while many organizers have done a good job bringing in more women experts, there’s still a ways to go in terms of racial diversity. If you organize, sponsor, speak at, or even just attend conferences, there are several things you can do to change the tide. First, as an organizer, ask for speaker recommendations from a diverse set of people. Look for people who have a broad range of experiences and stories to share, not just a fancy title (and the privilege to have earned that title). If you’re a speaker, recommend other speakers who represent diversity – maybe even to speak in your place. If you’re in the position of being able to sponsor an event, refuse to do so if there isn’t a diverse lineup of speakers. And as an attendee, amplify and attend conferences that do prioritize speaker diversity, and specifically state why you value this. Positive reinforcement helps.

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