ElisaC over at Worker Bees Blog posted about the dearth of women speakers at the upcoming Mesh Conference in Toronto:
Billed as Canada's Web 2.0 Conference, Mesh wants to be hip, but sorry, I don't think any confernece that can only find about 6 slots for women in a speaking roster over 50 strong qualifies as anything but old-school, Web 2.0 or not.
Usually tech (read: O'Reilly) conferences trot out the excuse that they're looking for deeply geeky presenters, and while I would argue that deeply geeky women abound, I agree that deeply geeky men are the low-hanging fruit. Of course, I've already established that I believe it's the conference organizer's job to seek out representatives of diverse perspectives, not the other way around, but let that go for the moment.
She makes the point that if this kind of trend continues, BlogHer won't be passe in her lifetime. I, unfortunately, agree with her.
So, this isn't a "pick on Mesh" post; they have a super line-up with some great discussions planned and I'm thrilled that it's finally starting to happen here in Canada. Kudos to the five guys who pulled it together. Planning any kind of conference is a pain in the butt, and they seem to have pulled it off.
But even with Mesh, there is still a gap. There are a lot of women bloggers out there who are looking for a community to connect with. Maybe its tech-tips, maybe its writing techniques, maybe its about design. How to promote your small business, or run your local political campaign, or update the other parents in your daughter's soccer league. It's not about prominent, sexy, "newsworthy" speakers. It's about a community coming together to forge relationships.
How do I know this? Because of the emails I get. From the young lesbian designer just finding her way in an agency. From a writer who wants to make the switch from offline to online writing. From the museum fundraiser who thinks that she could increase donations by starting a blog. All passionate articulate women trying to find a voice. Who have as much to offer as they do to learn. And who would benefit from seeing their role models, their mentors, women like them on stage talking about their accomplishments.
So. Here's the deal: Canadian women bloggers (oh heck, eastern US women bloggers too .. you Buffalo Yanks c'mon up!), are you interested in a BlogHer North? If you are, I will take this on and talk to the good folks at BlogHer to see how we can make this happen. But I need you to let me know! How?
- Email me and let me know you're interested
- Leave a comment
- Blog about it and trackback here
- Tag your post BlogHerNorth
Let's give it a week and see what happens.
And to the great gals of BlogHer - I promise that if we make this happen, I will not do the logo design.