At the Atlantic, Rebecca Rosen offers “A Simple Suggestion to Help Phase Out All-Male Panels at Tech Conferences.” Rosen writes:
Have you noticed that a lot of the time it just seems like, gosh, there are a lot of dudes speaking at this conference? Perhaps you’ve been on a panel and you’ve looked around and seen man after man after man. Maybe you’ve thought, it’s too bad the organizers didn’t think to balance this out a bit more and ask some women to speak too.
I love that this has bothered you. And I am happy to tell you about a simple step you can take to help change this: Refuse to speak on all male-panels. Just say no.
… The conference organizer is not the only person here with power. If you have been asked to speak on or moderate a panel, make it your business to ensure that this does not happen. We created a simple pledge that our editor Alexis has taken. Feel free to add yourself or make the pledge in your head privately.
Rosen offers a little pledge form to sign and everything. The pledge reads:
I will not speak on or moderate all-male panels at technology and science conferences.
Excellent idea — too good not to steal.
Rosen’s point, and her pledge, seem applicable and desperately needed for the realm of church and theology conferences as well. So let’s adapt and adopt her pledge accordingly:
I will not speak on or moderate all-male panels at church and theology conferences.
But then involving more people means applying more pressure for change. And involving more people also empowers more people to be the kind of people who can bring about change.
So let’s adapt this pledge further to be something that those of us who aren’t the sort of people usually invited to speak on or moderate all-male panels can participate in as well:
I will not speak on or moderate or attend all-male panels at church and theology conferences.