Lack of speaker diversity in conferences and events is a global long-standing challenge that has become even more relevant as gender and racial inequities across companies were brought to the forefront during the pandemic. Speaker Equity Assessor is a newly launched tool aiming to close the gap in speaker representation.
Harvard Business Review has cited a research showing that 69% of speakers globally are male. And that only accounts for professional speakers; for example, data about representation among the more informal speaking engagements that can shape a person’s career are not available.
Lack of speaker diversity means a lack of diverse perspectives and thoughts. When panels lack diversity, perspectives on the issues being discussed risk being too narrow and audiences miss potential outcomes or actions that might arise from broader representation.
So how can we improve diversity at conferences and events? A new tool tries to address the issue, offering insights to companies and organisations.
The Female Quotient, in collaboration with Facebook, have launched the Speaker Equity Assessor, a tool that aims to increase diverse representation at conferences globally. Through data inputs, the tool analyzes a conference’s speakers and provides high-level insights to help organisations select a more diverse slate of panelists who will better represent those watching and listening.
“When visible role models and spokespeople are predominantly male, the absence of diversity in leadership becomes normalized. Fewer women and people of color choose to speak, and it limits the quality and range of vital discussions. The Speaker Equity Assessor provides metrics that create accountability, changing the faces we will see both in person and on virtual stages,” says Shelley Zalis, CEO of the Female Quotient.
The Speaker Equity Assessor claims to be a call to action for companies, conferences, and events to recognize the importance of passing the mic and showcasing diverse perspectives.
Moonshot News has also just launched a dedicated column called ‘Find a Speaker‘ aiming at creating a publically available database with senior female keynote speakers, with the ambition of eliminating the phenomenon of the ‘usual suspects’ in all conferences and the excuse that ‘there are not enough female speakers’.