SOCIAL MEDIA | August 12, 2009

Encouraging Women to Attend and Speak at Tech Conferences

women speaking at conferences

If you follow the social media crowd, you probably have noticed the current campaign against the lack of women speakers and presenters at big Tech conferences. Allyson Kapin summed it up on Fast Company when she wrote Where are Women in Tech and Social Media? yesterday.

There was an improvised discussion on that topic at PodCamp Boston 4. There were good comments. I agree that we are missing the input of women at conferences. Now that women are very active on social media, it makes sense that things change. It is also up to us to take our place. The heart of the problem does not necessarily start at the big events.

Participation Outside the Usual Crowd

I always try to encourage women, for most part women bloggers that are not social media consultants, to attend tech and social media conferences and unconferences. Sadly, many women do not attend conferences that are work related. I guess it is either by lack of time or because they are unsure that they fit in.

Last year, I spoke at PodCamp Toronto and PodCamp Montreal about how women are shaping the Web. I felt it was important to show how the non-tech women blogging universe is diverse, creative and bring innovative ideas. At WordCamp Montreal last June, we were only three women speakers. I wonder why no more women – in fact, I could say the same about the design crowd – spoke at WordCamp Montreal.

One Step at a Time

Before we get invited to speak at big events, we have to learn public speaking. More women should take the opportunity to be known and get public speaking experience by attending and presenting at smaller conferences. It is one simple way to invade the boys’ club.

Therefore, I invite women, and men, to come to the upcoming PodCamp Montreal on September 19-20, 2009. I already selected my topic. I will be sending my conference proposal shortly. If you want to, this is your chance to present. Take it!

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