I’m new to the ‘blogosphere’, this interconnected weave of individual opinions and comments on the internet. Also, I’m a terror for doing my homework. So I wanted to search for past blogs on the subject of gender balance at UK ELT events. Of course, if you read Jeremy Harmer’s piece on this web site under ‘About’, ‘Reactions to gender balance at UK ELT events from a presenter’, you’ll find that Jeremy blogged about the topic in January 2010. And some 63 people came along to offer comments and suggest reasons for the imbalance. His blog was called ‘Are plenaries ‘gender-ed’?’
Before that, Gavin Dudeney posted a piece on Second Life on April 5th 2009. ‘An idle thought,’ he said, ‘but why are most sponsored speakers at ELT conferences nice (young) men when the majority of teachers of ELT worldwide are women?’ There was a good long discussion. I can’t print it here as I would need to get permission from everyone who commented. But you can tap into it direct yourself by following this link. http://slife.dudeney.com/?p=167.
Ken Wilson had an amusing start to an entry on his blog, also in 2009. He starts off by musing about a conference in Romania where he and three other male speakers present to an audience of, mostly women, teachers. In the break, they have their egos ‘stroked to death’ by women coming up and complimenting them. Then, when things quieten down for a moment, one of them says:
“Why aren’t there more women giving plenaries at conferences like this?” And away they go. Catch it here.
In 2010, Melanie Butler gave an interview on the topic ‘Is there a glass ceiling in ELT?’ Public speaking was mentioned. That one is here. And it has a pretty picture too!
In 2012 there was a blog post called, ‘’Men at the top of ELT?’ posted by Julie Moore, a freelance lexicographer, writer and editor. ‘Top’ (of ELT), for Julie, includes speaking at ELT events. She finishes with a rumination on whether it’s good to be a ‘big name’ if, that is, it involves giving up the pleasures of, for example, a cup of tea and afternoon cake taken while sitting on a roof terrace in the sun. A view from a freelance home worker. Read it here.
So, over recent years, people have been looking at the status quo and wondering. People who happen to be women or men, or professional conference goers, or freelance home workers. And me too who sometimes works from home, sometimes teaches and trains teachers, and sometimes presents at conferences. So this topic is for everyone. And it’s why I’ve made this web site (with lots of help from friends and family!) for everyone.
If you think this is fair, you could look around and see if there is a UK ELT conference coming up. If there is, encourage the organisers to get (nearer to) parity when it comes to the ratio of women to men keynote speakers and panelists. That’s it! Simple!
I once, attended a conference about Vicodin and I was surprised to see that the speakers where half men and half women. I’d like to every conference be like that. And if you are curious about where to buy vicodin, just click on the link. It helps with all sorts of pain and its easy to buy.
Let me know how it goes!