A frontier too far?

Earlier today I had a quick browse around Learning Without Frontiers The Future of Learning Conference website and I couldn’t help finding it somewhat ironic that out of 30 Headline Speakers, only five are women. Of course, not that there is anything wrong with the 25 male speakers, there are many truly individual and inspirational thinkers there and I would quite happily spend an hour of my day listening to any one of them apart from Ed Vaizey. However I do find I do rather dispiriting that Learning Without Frontiers couldn’t find 25 equally inspirational female speakers.

Having said that, and this is important, I have no plans to go to Learning Without Frontiers, so if I can’t even be bothered to attend, do I really have any right to criticise the conference? Am I actually part of the problem? I’m sure LWF12 will be an excellent event but attending in person has never been an option as I have childcare commitments on Wednesdays and Thursdays that make it almost impossible for me to travel those days. Of course travel restrictions are a factor for all working parents and event organisers are much more aware of the importance of disseminating their events to those who are unable to attend in person. So I’ll be following the #lwf12 tag with interest and will hopefully catch a few of the keynotes and presentations on the live stream, I just wish that the profile of the speakers on the “stellar programme” was a little more balanced. It would be nice to know we all have a place in The Future Of Learning. </rant>

LWF12 Headline Speakers

3 thoughts on “A frontier too far?

  1. Interesting point Lorna , as you know we have similar issues with our own conference and in particular attracting more female keynotes , be interesting to see how many delegates at teh CETIS conference are female.

    Incidentally I am attending LWF and will provide a briefing

  2. Agreed, Paul. We are certainly in no position to be overly critical! Although having said that, for better or for worse, there are genuinely fewer women in the CETIS domain of educational technology and interoperability standards. I would have thought that for a conference such as Learning Without Frontiers which has a wider scope, there would have been no shortage of inspirational female speakers to choose from.

    Interestingly this blog post sparked a long and involved discussion on facebook. For whatever reason people chose to comment over there rather than here!

  3. Feel like I’m coming rather late to the party on this one but…

    1. Tech has always been pioneered by women then taken over by men as soon as it becomes prestigeous. Early days of ed-tech were much more balanced when ed-tech was the cinderella, now its a hot topic with corporates interest and money attached, so now time for us to leave it to the grown ups

    2. Tech moves at such a rate that it is very expensive to keep up – men tend to have more disposable income, and new tech is heavily marketed to men rather than women, who get sold it once the pink version comes out. As the focus is always on the newest innovation rather than implimenting what we have, men get more attention.

    3. Men almost universally value men’s contributions more than women’s. As men organise these conferences, they naturally select men. You see the same in race – look at the whiteness of the brightest stars…White men make up around 6% of the world population but over 75% of the keynotes at this conference. Nothing particularly unusual tho.

    I’m interested in your comment, Paul about
    “attracting more female keynotes”

    Keynotes are usually invited rather than attracted. Are you getting a high rate of women turning down your invitations?

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