Your Conference Can Have Women!

Tuesday 20 December 2011, 8:03 pm   ///  

I recently had the chance to revisit the Gendered Conference Campaign, which is not new (it’s more than two years old) but is (unfortunately) still relevant. Without fixing blame on conference organizers, this page lists several “all-male” academic conferences (those where all the invited speakers are men) and offers useful, concrete suggestions for including women in your own conference.

I’ve gone to quite a variety of conferences and symposia, in writing, literary studies, game studies, digital media, and several flavors of computing. The gender balance has varied widely, from “looks like America” in some humanities conferences to “sausage fest” in some computing conferences. I’m pretty sure I’ve been to at least one small conference that was truly all-male – not just with all male invited speakers, but where everyone was male – and I’ve certainly been to a five-person symposium where all the participants were all men. Well, I bemoan it, and I point to those useful suggestions for allowing more women to participate. These are most useful to read before conference planning even begins, so if you are thinking of planning an event at some point in the future, give them a read.


  1. I believe that where invitations are sent should be based on the recipient’s merit rather than their sex. Otherwise, we get the following:

    • Who’s that?
    • Oh, she’s just here to satisfy our male to female ratio.
    Comment by Nikos — 2011-12-21 @ 8:43 am
  2. Just a click away, you could learn something about why it’s often easier for conference committees to recognize the merit of male academics.

    Comment by Nick Montfort — 2011-12-21 @ 11:58 am

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