That is the number of female keynote speakers at the 2018 consumer electronics show (CES) that took place this past week.
I see the same people speak at events all the time.
They are white, middle-aged, men.
You see this in technology, politics, educations, sciences and advertising.
The last four years I’ve been to the same show and heard a variation of the same debate. Education vs industry experience, yet none of the people on the panel had studied, or been down the academic route.
Lack of diversity equals lack of action, change and conversation.
Having the same type of person talking means the spaces become echo-chambers where nothing is learnt.
Yes, it takes time to search and find new voices, alternative opinions to create a diverse speakers list.
But I’ve got a very simple solution.
Put yourself forward for speaking opportunities. Gather your confidence and understand your experience gives a different approach to thinking, a valuable outlook that differs from those who speak all the time!
Or if you don’t feel comfortable getting up on stage, recommend colleagues and friends who you know have an opinion, interest and something of value to say.
I’ve been doing this for years – creating spaces that bring students and those of us in our early stages of our career into the industry discussions with The Student Sessions, First Steps and through my role as Vice President of Education for ILEA UK.
You have to remember that so-called ‘experts‘ are just giving you their opinions, even when they try to state it as a fact – so why can’t you share your opinions? We are an industry that is extremely lacking in diversity and we have to do more to develop it into a space that represents the wider world, and that comes from learning directly from those individuals!
So if you’re interested in speaking in more spaces – drop me a DM on twitter and let’s have a chat and see what we can do!