How a Pie Chart Creates Change

Name a moment with no female speakers that captivated the public imagination. You logged into Facebook and there it was. You grabbed a drink with your friends and it came up. You turned on a late night talk show and poof, spoofed.

Let me guess. Was it the 2012 all male Congressional hearing on contraception? Remember these guys?


That was a few years ago and it’s still the go to example when people talk about women not being adequately represented. We get it. It sparked a fire in us too, and it was part of what made founder Gina Glantz kick off GenderAvenger. It was a powerful moment, and one of many reasons why it stands out is that image, shared again and again, of a group of men weighing in on a women’s health issue without one woman in sight.

That image went viral because it seemed shocking. How could this happen in 2012?!  

We weren't shocked, and sadly, we're still not. "How could this happen in 2012?!" has turned into "How could this happen in 2014... now in 2015?!” But it is happening. And it’s happening too often. At GenderAvenger, we hear about conferences and Top 30 lists every day featuring either no women or a disturbingly small number. We read articles that fail to quote women experts, opinion pages with no female writers, history books that have “forgotten” the key contributions of women scientists, inventors, political change makers.

How do we raise awareness of these inequities and keep them in the public consciousness? Here’s an easy, yet visually powerful, first step:

When you find yourself at a conference with an all male panel or when you read the lineup for an upcoming conference and there are no women (or very few women) listed, use the GenderAvenger Tally. When you read an opinion page or watch the Sunday news shows and notice the absence of women’s voices, use the GenderAvenger Tally. Any situation where women’s voices are silent, use the GenderAvenger Tally to create a powerful image that can be shared to make an important point: women’s voices are missing. 

Here’s how it works: You enter the data for the conference/list/article/etc. in question. The GenderAvenger Tally automatically creates a pie chart that shows the gender balance (or lack thereof!). Here's a pie chart from Food and Wine's recent "30 Under 30: The Food and Drink Masters Changing How We Eat" list, which featured just seven women:

You’ve got the image: what happens next? Amplify. Share it on Twitter and Facebook. Share it with friends at the conference or with organizers. Share it with editors, awards, organizations, and anyone who is ignoring women’s voices. Be sure to use relevant hashtags. Nominate the conference or list to the GenderAvenger Hall of Shame. You can also use our easy embed code to embed the image on your blog and write a blog post about it. 

By calling attention to the issue publicly, we can create change. The GenderAvenger Tally is a simple first step.  

This goes both ways. If you see a conference doing a great job at equally representing women, give them some kudos! We love good news. Success stories beget success stories beget change. So celebrate conference organizers, authors, media outlets, and policy organizations. The same steps apply: share that pie chart and give the conference some love. This pie chart, made with the GenderAvenger Tally, celebrates Spotify's great work at their Diversify Weekend Hackathon:

The GenderAvenger Tally is easy to use yet visually powerful. Your images, your tweets and Facebook posts, your feedback — they make a difference.  
We want to hear from you! Send us a tweet with #genderavenger so we can highlight the conferences and lists that you're covering.

Want to help us take the GenderAvenger Tally and our work to increase the inclusion of women’s voices to the next level? Click here.