In October 2016, the organizers behind a conference on the microbiome sent promo materials to some prominent scientists. Elisabeth Bik was one of them: With her nearly 12,000 followers, her tweeting could help publicize their upcoming event in San Diego. But when she scanned the lineup, she noticed that almost every speaker was a man. Add more women, she suggested--or the conference should expect backlash. She was right: Biologist Jonathan Eisen--"Guardian of Microbial Diversity," reads his Twitter bio--brought the biased list to the attention of his own 46,000 followers, with a blog post called "The White Men's Microbiome Congress."
Women have made huge strides throughout history for their rights. SAN FRANCISCO – Dude, you have an all-male conference. Time to make room for women. From the world of finance to the technology industry, men tend to hog the high-profile speaking gigs, dropping their wisdom on topics ranging from cryptocurrencies to gynecology. Take tech's splashiest conference CES, where all the keynote addresses were given by men for the second straight year.
Earlier this year, the RSA cyber security conference came under fire for including only one female keynote speaker in a line-up of 20. The issue is not unique: In January, the CES technology conference also revealed a line-up lacking women speakers. When challenged, RSA said that women in cyber security are hard to find. This isn't true, say BAE Systems threat intelligence analysts Kirsten Ward and Saher Naumaan, who have just launched what they claim is the first cyber security conference of its kind, featuring an all-female speaker line up. "It means they're not trying hard enough," says Naumaan. "There are plenty of exceptional women qualified to speak at such conferences.