An interesting survey from the Feminist Philosophers blog: Results: What (If Anything) Prevents Women From Accepting Conference Invitations?
The most popular reason for women to turn down conference invitations is a lack of funding to attend. If it’s true that women turn down conference invitations more often than men do (we still don’t know this), a key reason may be that they are less likely to have good travel funds available. Why think this? Well, we already know that women are disproportionately to be found at less wealthy, less prestigious institutions, and more likely to work part-time. They are also less likely to be have reached senior ranks. All these factors are likely to mean that women have less access to travel funds. So conference organisers may want to think about who they give their limited funds to. They might want to think about prioritising the women. Alternatively, and with quite possibly the same effect, they might want to prioritise funding the junior people from less wealthy institutions.
It’s an interesting post because they take time to suggest feasible solutions to a variety of problems they saw expressed in their survey, so this could be a very valuable list for conference organizers:
Here’s the list of the top 5 responses to give you an idea:
- Lack of funding
- Too busy on that date
- Too busy on any date
- I have never turned down a conference invitation (This should give you hope that women don’t all have to turn down invitations all the time!)
- Invitation outside my area of competence/current research
And some corresponding suggestions for conferences interested in having more female speakers:
- Prioritize funding for women, or for individuals from less well-funded institutions
- Ask women first and as early as possible so that they have first pick of the date ranges, time to secure funding, time to rearrange schedules, etc.
- Be sure you’re asking someone to do what they actually do (It might sound foolish, but this can actually be a problem. I often get asked to do stuff outside my own expertise because I’m a woman, and I turn most of these requests down.)
- Don’t invite known harassers
- Work harder to provide childcare, alternative methods of presenting, disability accommodations.
Read the entire post for more suggestions.