Kelly Diels
Kelly Diels campaign leader

"If your leadership doesn't include women of color and protects rights of trans & WOC, you aren't doing women's work" ~ Cherno Biko ‪#‎StateOfWomen‬ (h/t Desiree Lynn Adaway)
Maybe you've been noticing that conferences about women's empowerment seem to be choosing speakers from one group of women - mostly white women. It's so bad - and so consistent - that every time a new women's conference lands in my feed, I can predict that the line-up will be one kind of woman - the female version of what Audre Lorde called "the mythic norm" - even though the community supporting the event is not.

Some of us have been pushing back on that, asking conference organizers why that is and to please do better. We've even been offering to help them improve the selection process (free).

That's not necessarily going so well.

We ask one conference to course-correct and then the next week another launches with the same kind of oblivious, privileged line-up.

It's an inequity whack-a-mole!

So let's intervene at the root.

The people asked to speak have influence. If you're getting asked to speak, you have power and you can be an ally. You are the product they're selling. There's no conference or event without you.

So if and when someone approaches *you* to speak at an event, ask about the speaker line-up. Ask who's speaking. Ask how diverse it is. Ask what measures they're taking to ensure that the speaker line-up reflects their audience and our communities.

And if it's just a slew of women who are that "the mythic norm", then ask the organizers to remedy that or decline the invitation.

That's what this pledge is about: changing conference line-ups before they are announced.

The conference organizers are showing themselves to be reluctant to do this work, but the speakers have power. There's no event without you.

So let's make diverse speaker line-ups the new norm in our empowerment communities.

Let's pledge to only speak when the line-up is as diverse as our communities.

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