The program

The subject of your event has been decided upon; now you just need to find speakers and a moderator. Of course for that you will look for knowledgeable people who can speak well about a certain topic.

The problem: Very often the same people are on stage at events again and again. Until now these people are mostly men and usually not women, minorities or people who have a disability. But also, senior citizens and teenagers or young adults are underrepresented on stage. So take care to choose diverse speakers and moderators, so that new points of view can produce new results and the diversity of our society is reflected on stage.

Conference “Inclusion in television – new perspektives on disability” in the City of Cologne
photo credit: Andi Weiland | Gesellschaftsbilder.de

Panelists

Are you looking for speakers in your program who will bring more diversity into the conversation? There are several portals with profiles and contact information of speakers who are experts in certain areas and who can enrich a discussion with their unique perspectives. Here is a list of websites that represent women, people with a disability and people with an immigration background.  

Conference “Inclusion on television – new perspectives on disability” in the City of Cologne
photo credit: Andi Weiland | Gesellschaftsbilder.de

Conference “Inclusion in television – new perspektives on disability” in the City of Cologne
photo credit: Andi Weiland | Gesellschaftsbilder.de

Women

  • speakerinnen.orgWomen who are experts on specific subjects. A project of the internet activist Anne Roth and programmers NPO Rails Girls Berlin
  • AcademiaNetScientists who do research in specific fields. An initiative of the Robert-Bosch-Stiftung in cooperation with the science magazine Spektrum und Natur.
  • Digital Media Women Liste: Women with a great deal of knowledge of the digital world. (Social media developments, data privacy concerns or feminist topics from the IT and web world). A list by Digital Media Women e.V.
  • Female:Pressure: A search engine for artists, musicians, culture worker, researchers (electronic music and digital art). An international network that was founded by Electric Indigo
  • Women Speaker Foundation: A network of highly qualified experts with first class references. Founded by the business consultant Regina Mehler.
  • There are various networks that can put you in contact with experts on programming, new media or political work such as Haecksen des Chaos Computer Clubs, TechNixen.net oder Webgrrls.

Conference “Inclusion in television – new perspektives on disability” in the City of Cologne
photo credit: Andi Weiland | Gesellschaftsbilder.de

Conference “Deutschland – neu denken”. 1. Bundeskongress, hosted by “Neue Deutsche Organisationen”, Berlin
photo credit: Mosjkan Ehrari | Neue-deutsche-organisationen.de

People with an immigrant background

vielfaltfinder: Experts who have an immigrant background or who belong to a minority in Germany can be found on the website Vielfaltfinder (Diversity Finder) of the NPO Neue Deutsche Medienmacher. The first step is to register as a representative of the press or of an institution. They also have a handbook about stereotype-free language.

Conference “Deutschland – neu denken”. 1. Bundeskongress, hosted by “Neue Deutsche Organisationen”, Berlin
photo credit: Mosjkan Ehrari | Neue-deutsche-organisationen.de

Gïti Hatef-Rossa and Carina Kühne at an event in the Kleisthaus, Berlin
photo credit: Andi Weiland | Gesellschaftsbilder.de

People with disability

  • Leidmedien.deThe Berlin-based NPO Sozialhelden can refer experts with a disability who can speak on “inclusion”, as well as on other topics, to you. Their project Leidmedien.de gives you insights in the biographies of interesting people. Your first step is to send and email to info@leidmedien.de. You can also find tips on using language and pictures on the website.
  • Aktionsbündnis Seelische Gesundheit: a nationwide initiative to dismantle the stigma and discrimination of people with mental illnesses, funded by the Federal Ministry of Health. Your first step: send an email with your request to relevant organizations on the list of experts. They also have a handbook.

Gïti Hatef-Rossa and Carina Kühne at an event in the Kleisthaus, Berlin
photo credit: Andi Weiland | Gesellschaftsbilder.de

Tip:

Ask your friends on Facebook and Twitter if they know any interesting people who can speak about the subject at hand.

Meeting each other

Some event organizers have already voluntarily committed themselves to abiding by certain rules of conduct. They want to ensure that diverse speakers and participants are invited and that a friendly and non-discriminatory atmosphere is created for everybody. An example of such a set of rules is the “Berlin Code of Conduct”:

Conference “AllerArt Inklusion” hosted by the Bundesvereinigung Kulturelle Kinder- und Jugendbildung in the City of Essen
photo credit: Andi Weiland | BKJ

There are various handbooks that give practical tips and advice on how to deal with reservations and awkwardness when interacting informally with people with a disability. One such handbook is “Auf Augenhöhe” published by the Expert Commission “Communication and Media” of the German Federal Government Commissioner for Matters relating to Disabled Persons, Verena Bentele. There is also a handbook in English and Arabic available: “Disability Terminology Handbook”

Conference “AllerArt Inklusion” hosted by the Bundesvereinigung Kulturelle Kinder- und Jugendbildung in the City of Essen
photo credit: Andi Weiland | BKJ

List of links

Here are some links to additional information on the subject of bringing diversity to events. Among these are lists which you can add your name to if you are a man who no longer wants to be on panels without women and blogs that address the topic with satire.

Taking a stand against all male panels

  • 50prozentA compilation of statements from men who no longer want to speak at events at which only men are speaking. Anne Roth’s blog keeps a record of panels that only have male speakers. With the name 50prozent her blog refers to the fact that 50 percent of the world’s population is female. The blog gave the impetus for the creation of the platform Speakerinnen.org which makes women speakers more visible. It also gives tips on how to attract more women to you an event.
    Tipps, wie man mehr Frauen auf ein Event bekommt.
  • i-business: here those responsible for internet and interactive conferences can sign a proclamation stating, “that they will no longer take part in panels of the interactive to which only men are invited.

Satirical blogs tackling this topic

  • “All male panels”: this blog keeps a record of international events and panels at which only men speak
  • “Rent-A-Minority”: a platform that uses humor to address the topics of racism and sexism with a section for “hiring” employees belonging to a minority, one for job-seekers belonging to a minority to “present” themselves and a section for sharing stories about conferences / nominations at which only men were on stage.
  • “Learn to search”a blog that gives tips on how to find women for conferences more easily.

Download the Checklist:

Program Checklist (PDF)