How to create a diverse event: tips for the World Economic Forum organisers article in The Guardian

My article about how you can create a better and more diverse line up of speakers was published in The Guardian the other week.

Tired of the same male, pale and stale event panels? Here’s how to guarantee a more interesting, and diverse, line up

As a plethora of high-profile speakers board their private jets and wave goodbye to Davos, only about 20% of them will be female. This has been the norm at theWorld Economic Forum for the last few years and shows little sign of changing.

As a regular on the speaker circuit, I’ve heard all kinds of excuses as to why there are so few women on stage at these events. The most popular include: there are no female experts in the field, we tried to get a woman to speak but we asked too late – she was already busy, and in the end we didn’t have time to approach people we don’t know already.

Quite frankly, these responses are getting boring. Event producers need to start putting together panels that represent the world we work in. We need to look at running an event the same way we would any other goal in the corporate world – with a clear strategy. Here are my top tips for creating a more female-friendly event:

1) Look back at your past events to see how diverse the speakers were. How many of the experts don’t fit the stereotype of the middle-class white male speaker? This gives you a number to start with and from there a goal to aim for. If your last event line-up included only one woman, then try to aim for two this time – that’s a 100% increase. Even if it is still pretty sad. You will probably be better off trying to address the percentage of women speakers. Most events get stuck at around the 22% mark, beat that and you’re already doing better than the majority.

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Read all six tips on The Guardian’s website.