96% men, because they’re just better than women

This is just sad. Reboot is a conference to be held in Copenhagen in June, and so far there are 23 male presenters and one woman presenter. The organiser claims innocence:

i hadnít even thought of it this year. Take that as reboot not having any preference on the subject. rebootís speakers are selected out of strict quality criteria – and nothing else.

Isn’t that cute? He really thinks that the reason he thinks he’s only invited men (well, OK, there’s a woman too: that brings us to about 4% women speakers) is quality.

You know I was just at a seminar on social networks. Strikes me the point about the importance of weak ties must be relevant here. Most people remain ensconced in their own little clusters of people who are more or less like them and who basically have almost all the same information as each other. That’s why bridges to other social clusters are vital: if you find people who connect to people who are different from yourself and your buddies, you’re going to get a whole lot of new information and new ideas. That’s important.

I also recently read Blink! It’s a very easy read, and I have the feeling I’ve read a lot of it before somewhere – online maybe? But it also brings together some important points. The book is an examination of how we make snap judgements based on pattern recognition that we can’t really verbalise. That can be extremely powerful, but it also means we act on biases that we’re not even aware of. This is probably the most interesting — and frightening — section of the book, really. (I wanted to link to an online research site mentioned in the book where you can test your own biases, but can’t find it?)

There is no such thing as selection from strict quality criteria and nothing else.

Seems to me it’d be in mens’ interest to get a few more women involved in their conferences. A few connections to other clusters couldn’t hurt, surely?

I won’t be going to Reboot. Sure, the topic interests me, and yes, it’s in Copenhagen, and I can get cheap flights and I have friends there. No, I’m not going because I find it too exhausting to be in a constant minority. And heck, I’m a white woman who passes as native: if I’m exhausted, what on earth must it feel like for those who are even more marginalised in meetings like this? (via Caterina at Misbehaving)

23. April 2005 by Jill

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