In PUT A SOCK IN IT, YOU DICKLESS WONDERS, Milo Yiannopoulos claims that women in the tech industry are more likely to be speakers or panellists than men are, because there aren't many women in the tech industry, and since organizers want to have women on their panels, those women have a higher probability to be speakers or panellists.

Because, actually, women have it easy in tech: there are so few of them that conference organisers are desperate to put them on stage. Feature writers are unendingly enthusiastic about trailing glossy pics of them in newspapers and magazines. Prime Ministers are anxious to meet them and be photographed alongside these trailblazing digital divas.

In contrast, Avdi Grimm said in On BritRuby (which was talking about women and non-white speakers)

As I mentioned, 15 speakers were invited. Now, given that there is still a big disparity between men and women in the community, not to mention between white folks and other races, I figured it was possible that they had indeed invited a diverse representation of the community. Let’s say 15-25% non-white-dudes, given that it’s still harder to find prominent women and minorities in the Ruby field. And then, in a stroke of rotten luck, every single one of non-white-dude invitees turned them down. This scenario is definitely within the realm of the possible.

So I started asking around. I thought of all the prominent non-white-dude Ruby conference speakers I could in the space of a couple minutes. Just people who came easily to mind, nobody too obscure. I wanted to know if they had been invited to be part of that initial group of 15, and had said no.

Sandi Metz. Bryan Liles. Reg Braithwaite. Angela Harms. Sarah Mei. Katrina Owen (Norway). Keavy McMinn (Scotland). None of these people were invited to be part of the initial line-up. In fact, I couldn’t find a single woman or minority Rubyist who had been invited to be part of that 15.

Are women who are in the tech industry more likely to be a speaker or panellist at conferences than men?

  • Would organizers in UK even be legally allowed to gather data on speakers race? – vartec Feb 16 '13 at 8:58
  • @vartec Well UK does gather such data on other occasions which veer dangerously in the direction of discrimination (University of Cambridge for instance does it on college applications). I was very surprised myself that this is apparently legal. – Konrad Rudolph Feb 16 '13 at 18:28
  • @vartec what is wrong with gathering data if it is entirely separate from decision-making? – user29285 Oct 9 '15 at 0:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .