Tag Archives: philosophy

Representation on Conference Panels: gentle pressure

Let’s start a[nother] conversation about representation on conference panels

my general thought is, who are the allies to whom we might suggest a policy of light or heavier pressure on conference organizers to get women on panels before you will agree to participate?  I know two people with such policies and I’m sure there are more.  Very junior academics and lawyers probably aren’t the folks who can take up this policy – but who might? Why not ask? After my tweets at the Federation of Asian Canadian lawyers (see below), I ran into a (the?) person who had seen them, has a policy, and is raising the issue in organizations he works with.

The thing is that once you are asked to be on panels, you

a. get better at it and

b. get asked to be on more

Feet in the door matter hugely, in other words.  Other justifications can be found in the links below.  Naturally, gender is not the only issue, so there are ways that women can be active participants with their own policies too, rather than simply “locked out”.

Here is info about the Gendered Conference Campaign from Feminist Philosophers.  Here and here you can find articles about the issue in tech. Here a man describes some of the challenges of operationalizing a hard pledge.


At  FACL [Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers] w  lawschool classmates & students i have taught from 2002 to last thursday. Lots of great women here. Binders full, possibly.
This particular panel at  FACL FedAsian CdnLawyers on public service =all men. But all racialised & 3  osgoode grads incl @jagmeetNDP
Hi  FACL – @GeraldChanRSCH is fab & <3 panel on Asian Canadian Litigators but  wherearetheAsianwomen? Yr VP Rebecca Huang wld be perfect!
[a few days later]
so i know some expert  lawyers &  lawprofs who try to avoid sitting on panels w/o any  women … I bet more out there @blberger @agarwalr
Broadening the representation on all kinds of expert panels requires those who ARE invited to suggest others & insist on representation.
see similar calls in tech & academic philosophy. How much resistance will these allies face in our  academic and  professional spaces?



PS: i have no qualms about people assuming this “quota” is a reason someone is on a panel.  I have plenty of reasons for dismissing this as a concern, including:

  • if people do a good job. who cares
  • if they don’t, there are plenty of men in that category too and one goal is that women should be able to be as prominently mediocre as men in this profession
  • invitations to be on panels are not distributed evenly nor does anyone pretend they are handed out by a meritocratic system.  There are all kinds of reasons why they are handed out.  Most are no more defensible – or less defensible – than a policy which prioritizes representation.

here is a problem I think i have encountered;

getting asked to be on too many things (two birds/one stone issue?) and allowing it to take up my time and set my agenda.