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Comments

Elisa Camahort

It's politically correct BS not to lay some of the blame at the feet of the organizers. You get the slate of speakers you think it's important to have.

Shelley

Seems to me I remember someone sending me an email about being warned away from having anything to do with me. Who would want to enter a field where the men would do such a thing, and the women would condone it.

Shelley

Fancy that, your last post is about Dave Winer.

Phil

Not a single woman was in the line-up. Ditto for most of the panels and speakers. No one put the blame on the conference organizers

Why not? I mean that seriously, and as an open question. If you'd written no one assumed pre-emptively, in the absence of evidence either way, that the blame must lie entirely with the conference organizers I could understand (and approve) - but what you actually wrote sounds more like a pre-emptive decision to let the organizers off the hook.

Phil

I do hate the way Typepad strips out markup. Belay my last - here goes using your Earth 'speech marks'.

"Not a single woman was in the line-up. Ditto for most of the panels and speakers. No one put the blame on the conference organizers"

Why not? I mean that seriously, and as an open question. If you'd written

"no one assumed pre-emptively, in the absence of evidence either way, that the blame must lie entirely with the conference organizers"

I could understand (and approve) - but what you actually wrote sounds more like a pre-emptive decision to let the organizers off the hook.

Dave Winer

Shelley, why can't Sylvia post something about me? We're friends, and neighbors. Do you take offense? If so, why?

Richard

I wondered about this but more generally as it applies to Web 2.0, not just specifically regarding the conference. That is, where are the women developers of the Web 2.0 tools? Where are the women *users* of Web 2.0 tools, that is, those who are using the "not just a weblog" web-based social applications. (Flickr and 43 Places are good places to start looking, actually.) I only know of two women who use del.icio.us, for example, compared to the dozen+ men I could name of the top of my head.

The idea of Web 2.0, to me, means the Web approximating as close as possible our real-life interactions. Real-life interactions almost always for almost everybody involve women. At least with these 'new' technologies, though, it seems almost as if women are left out of the conversation about the technologies' direction.

Dori

The way I see it, there are three possible reasons:

- There are no women in this field, or in this area: Nope, I'm typing this, so I exist, so there's at least one.

- The guys organizing these conferences know who the women are, but purposefully choose not to include them: Just my gut speaking, but having met a lot of these men, I don't get the impression that they're actively working to keep women out. I don't think that this is it.

- The guys who organize these conferences just simply don't think about women as being interested in technology, or interested in attending, or interested in playing with the cool toys: IMO, this is the situation. It's not that the guys who are organizing these things are misogynistic, or want it to be men-only. It's that they're wired to just not think about women in this context. Put simply, they just don't even see us or think about us.

So far as what to do about it, about all that can be done so far as I've seen (and I've been seeing this for a *long* time now) is to make a stink about it every time it happens. After a while, conference organizers and promoters will begin to learn that if they don't have a speaker list that's representative of the community, they're going to get some grief.

So keep giving 'em grief, and we'll all hope for things to improve.

Dave Winer

Here's an idea.

Let's find industries whose conferences are horribly un-gender-balaced the other way (mostly women, almost no men) and consider merging with them. For example, what's the intersection between Web 2.0 and librarians? (Assuming most librarians are women.)

If we find one that works, that's the begining of a gender-balanced tech industry.

Most men would be happier with this too, imho. Believe it or not, many of us *like* women. ;->

Shelley

Dave Winer, if you're going to link to Sylvia's post, you should have the courtesy to link to her post, not your comment. As it is, you're baiting. Same as with the comment above -- this was a bait from two, three years ago. Dave, it's not going to work anymore. That's not the way to get attention; it's not the way to get links. I think you and I are both getting horribly dull.

Richard, I think that Web 2.0 probably has several women -- this includes the so-called social software field, which is loaded with women. No, the organizers did a very poor job with this event. They focused on the money, not the tech.

Dave Winer

http://blogs.opml.org/amyloo/2005/10/19#bigbiglampAndSensibilitybigbig

Lisa Stone

A dearth of women speakers?

How very and sadly familiar: http://surfette.typepad.com/surfette/2005/07/why_blogher_isn.html.

How completely avoidable: https://www.socialtext.net/speakers/index.cgi

jeneane

It seems like this discussion comes round and round again and again with new women taking the bait from old men and saying, yes that's right, where are all the women, when they don't bother to read around the net on this very topic to find out where all the women are and have been--the women who try not to get tired of saying, we're over here and over there and pretty much everywhere you don't want to bother looking because it's easier to 'reply to' than it is to 'compose' in the grand scheme of things.

And that's a mouthful. Please save us from the drama and follow Lisa Stone's links above. Wshew.

Richard Bennett

This is one of the perpetual complaints about tech conferences, and one of the most tedious. I didn't go to Web 2.0, but a quick scan of the speakers list shows Mena Trott, Kim Polese, Mary Meeker, and Dianah Neff in prominent positions. So there were women speakers at Web 2.0.

Is it a problem that there weren't more, and should conference organizers jump through hoops (all the way to changing the goals of teenage girls) to increase their representation?

I don't think so. In the first place, there are plenty of groups who weren't represented as conference speakers at all: Chinese, Japanese, and Africans, among others. I can understand that there may not be a lot of leading edge tech in Africa these days, but how in the world can you host a tech conference that ignores Japan and China?

And secondly, people don't generally go to conferences hoping to hear only from people of a certain group, they want to hear ideas and see demos that stimulate. If women aren't doing the exciting work in the Web 2.0 space, so be it, that's their choice.

But manipulating the lineup of speakers to conform to some pseudo-fascist quota system based on a hare-brained theory of how things should be in the world is not the way to get people to come to these things, and certainly not the way to get them to come back.

Dick Masterson

There were no women speakers and there won't ever be any because women don't do anything. They just sit back and wait for all the progress to be made and all the risks to be taken; and then they jump on the bandwagon as loud as possible with nothing to offer but their opinions.

-Dick

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