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Apr 19 2013

Rebecca Watson gives advice to conference speakers

It’s good advice, too, although I think she’s channeling her mother in the last bit, so maybe this should be titled “Rebecca Watson’s Mom gives advice…”

She’s suggesting that speakers should use their influence to increase diversity. I’m all for this, even if my possession of a pair of testicles carrying sperm of Northern European descent* makes me less likely to be invited.

Q. What advice would you give to other pro-women folks who speak at events regularly?

If you’re speaking at the right events, then the organizers care about diversity and reaching out to new audiences. Don’t be shy about asking them to find a good representation of women and minorities, and offer to help if you can. If you’re a man, you could refuse to speak on a panel that doesn’t have a woman on it. The worst that can happen is that you get disinvited, at which point just imagine what your mom would say: “Why would you want to hang out with those jerks anyway?”

And conference organizers should look at it from a conference organizer’s perspective: more diversity means your audience will be drawn from a larger pool of people, which will help your attendance. And it’s not discriminating against the White Man: there’s nothing inherently wrong with white male people, and some of them are smart and interesting and cool, so invite them…just don’t forget that their color and gender isn’t the part that makes them smart and interesting and cool, and that there are lots of other people who share the attributes that are important.


*Even having them in a jar on a shelf in your lab is apparently enough to reduce your popularity at cons.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    blf

    Even having them in a jar on a shelf in your lab is apparently enough to reduce your popularity at cons.

    Bring the jar with you next time.

    Label it “all they ever found of the last fool who dared argue with Me!”

  2. 2
    noastronomer

    If you’re a man, you could refuse to speak on a panel that doesn’t have a woman on it.

    I have no problem with following this guidance. In fact as a white male I’ll willingly give up my place on panels in order to foster more diversity. Do you hear that, conference organizers? Don’t even *think* about inviting me!

    /crickets

    Mike.

  3. 3
    Jackie

    Very good advice

    Thank for sharing it.

  4. 4
    Jackie

    *Thanks*

  5. 5
    hjhornbeck

    Q. What is your dream speaking engagement?

    I like speaking in pubs, because everyone is relaxed and there’s beer. So I suppose my dream speaking engagement would be on a panel with Hillary Clinton, Lucy Lawless, and Amy Poehler, in a pub full of sloths, and also we’re on a spaceship.

    Anyone know the address of SkepChick? I have to mail someone their winnings. Now to figure out the colour of wrapping paper that goes best with an internet…

  6. 6
    scottyroberts

    You are still booked and on the website for Paradigm Symposium. I would expect nothing less than your balls being intact. Looking forward to having you here.

    Scotty

    http://www.paradigmsymposium.com

  7. 7
    vaiyt

    @6:

    lol

  8. 8
    chigau (違う)

    aaaarrrrgghhh
    He’s back!!‽!!

  9. 9
    gillt

    …just don’t forget that their color and gender isn’t the part that makes them smart and interesting and cool, and that there are lots of other people who share the attributes that are important.

    Exactly, we expect to see gender and racial variation in opinion and perspective not performance and aptitude. So why is the seemingly more common thing to do is justify and defend the status quo?, “Ahem, my ascertainment bias has shown… boys are more interested in science than girls; girls aren’t that into secular activism,”

  10. 10
    SallyStrange

    The diversity of perspectives at American Atheist Convention 2013 certainly added a lot. You can’t tell me that the diversity of perspective was wholly divorced from the diversity in ethnicity, race, and background. Could have been better, but still, I appreciated it.

  11. 11
    lpetrich

    As one might expect, the slimepitters have been getting very worked up over this, not even giving her credit for anything they might agree with. If anything, they act just like their own description of FTB and Skepchick.

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