The Problem is Not a Lack of Women Experts; It's a Lack of Effort.

by Roman Bonnefoy [ GFDL  or  CC BY-SA 3.0 ],  via Wikimedia Commons

by Roman Bonnefoy [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“We know we have no women. We are always looking for ideas. Could you please send some names?”

Have you ever heard this excuse for an all-male panel or a nearly all-male speaker lineup?

The problem is not a lack of women experts.

The problem is not a lack of lists of experts.

The problem is a lack of effort.

There are plenty of women speakers and experts.

They are on lists, they are in your field, they are speaking at other conferences, they are easy to track down. It takes marginally more effort to find more women speakers, but the impact is huge. A gender-balanced speaker lineup leads to better conversations, richer discussions, and more varied perspectives. It makes a conference more dynamic, inclusive, and fascinating — the kind of space women and men will want to return to the following year, with colleagues and friends in tow.

Mathematician Greg Martin showed through a statistical probability analysis that:

If conference speakers were being chosen by a system that treated gender fairly (which is to say, gender was never a factor at all), then in any conference with over 10 speakers, say, it would be extremely rare to have no female speakers at all — less than 5 percent chance, depending on one’s assumption about the percentage of women in mathematics as a whole.

And a lack of women onstage leads to a trickle down effect that keeps conference stages nearly all-male. “Few women getting hired to speak means fewer can become stars, which means fewer will get hired to speak,” says Nick Morgan in his Forbes piece “Why Are There So Few Women Speakers?” Victoria Chao echos this sentiment in her piece “Valuing Voices and Catching Up.” “If you've ever had to line up guests for media interviews and public events, you know that a record of prior appearances on lists or decently respectable conferences can go a long way in legitimizing consideration for a spot on stage,” says Chao.

There is ample proof that there are plenty of women experts. In fact, there are plenty of lists of women experts, so when the response to a lack of women speakers is “We’re always looking for names,” this giant batch of lists packed full of names is proof that it’s time for them to look harder.

We asked the GenderAvenger community for suggestions for lists of women experts. This is by no means a comprehensive list of lists. There are plenty more lists of experts and speakers, and we’re going to keep updating this with your suggestions. Comment with a link to any lists we missed, or share it with GenderAvenger on Twitter or Facebook.

Lists of Women Experts

  1. Women Also Know Stuff
  2. SheSource
  3. SpeakerInnen
  4. The Women’s Room
  5. Women On Air
  6. List of Women in Computer Science
  7. A List of Women EU Experts  
  8. American Physical Society Women Speakers List
  9. List of Women in Machine Learning
  10. Women in Number Theory
  11. Women in Probability
  12. 50/50 Pledge
  13. Innovation Women
  14. The 100+ tech & business women speakers you need at your next event
  15. WILS Database of Women In Science
  16. Women in Cell Biology
  17. American Program Bureau Prominent Women Speakers
  18. Great Women Speakers
  19. Synberc
  20. Women Speakers Association
  21. Bitch Media’s Feminist Speakers
  22. Powerful Women Motivational Speakers
  23. Women Veteran Speakers
  24. Empowered Women Speakers
  25. Minerva Speakers
  26. Anne’s List
  27. AcademiaNet
  28. The American Association of Immunologists
  29. Journalism and Women Symposium
  30. 300 Women Leaders in Global Health
  31. Business Women Experts
  32. Her Say
  33. Women Peace Experts
  34. Femtech’s Database of Female Experts
  35. Women In Tech Africa’s Amazing Women In Tech
  36. Women in Data Visualization
  37. The Director’s List 
  38. Garden List of Female Speakers with Fruit Expertise
  39. List of Female Speakers with Fruit Expertise

Hall of Fame Lists

Visit our Hall of Fame page where we feature conferences and lists with a balanced gender ratio and take recommendations from their featured speakers and experts.

  1. Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business
  2. TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People
  3. Creative Tech Week
  4. Elevate Summit
  5. Design and Content Conference
  6. Now What? Conference
  7. New York Social Media Week

There are 100+ lists, conferences, and more with over 40% women: click here to see the full GenderAvenger Hall of Fame.

We want to see women incorporated into the public dialog and not only featured in lists of women or women-only conferences. The amount of lists and conferences featuring only women are proof that there are plenty of powerful women speakers and experts around who can be a resource for conference organizers looking for women speakers.

Check out the speaker lineups for a few of these conference with all-women speakers, and lists of top women experts:

  1. BinderCon
  2. TED Women
  3. BlogHer
  4. Lesbians Who Tech
  5. Mom 2.0 Summit
  6. Women in Technology Summit
  7. Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Tech
  8. The World’s 20 Most Powerful Women in Business
  9. 12 Successful Women in Tech
  10. Elle’s Most Influential Women in Tech
  11. The Most Powerful Women in Tech
  12. Most Powerful Women
  13. The Most Powerful Women in Business

Take Action:

Share your favorite lists of women experts with us in the comments below or on Twitter and Facebook! Together we can beat the classic excuse of “Can you send us some names?” and show organizers that names are everywhere… it’s their responsibility to make the effort.