TED Conversations

Kat Haber

Organizer / Curator, WILD Foundation


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How can TEDx events balance the ratio of female to male speakers?

Recently many organizers and TED staff have been wondering why men are more likely to show up on TEDx stages speaking than do women. Is it a question of courage or time or desire or family responsibilities or not being known or lack of degrees or lack of power or looking harder? What do you think are the reasons? How can we change this?

Women are reshaping our world. http://www.ted.com/themes/women_reshaping_the_world.html

How do we find them, invite them, support them, give them a platform to amplify their ideas, have their voices heard, and radically increase their own image of what they are capable of impacting? Where are they investing their life energy? How can we value and reward them? Do you know any who should be speaking at a TEDx? Or nominated to be a TED Fellow?


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    Nov 10 2013: well, one thought that comes to mind is that many women may still be following traditional roles of staying home and raising children. To become a TED speaker you have to first speak at many lesser gatherings, I would think. But if a woman doesn't want to leave her children, perhaps can't afford or doesn't trust babysitters, she might not be getting out to practice her speaking skills. Do people even trust babysitters these days, one hears occasional tales of abuse. I wonder if there is a way gatherings of people could offer convenient child care.
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      Nov 11 2013: Yes, Greg-child care does remain largely the responsibility of women. Your recommendation of offering childcare to support mothers in attending and speaking at TEDx events is a good one. Done.
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        Nov 11 2013: Yes, that might encourage single mothers, and there are even some single dads. Now, Kat, a TEDx event is usually close to home, right, the people don't have to fly to get to it? Because if a mother had to fly and pay her own way, if she has to bring her children that becomes a more expensive proposition?

        Sometimes it is confusing how women respond to child care issues. For example, after the actress Julia Roberts had children, it seemed to me she largely dropped out of filmmaking. I thought maybe it was because of the children, although I could be wrong. But Angelina Jolie has continued to make films despite her kids (although maybe fewer?.) Both women could afford to have the children on the set, cared for. Maybe after Julia became a mom working as an actress didn't mean as much to her, it became real important to concentrate on her children? Do you, Kat, have children? After you had them, did you feel less of a need to shine in the big outside world?

        I think it would be real interesting if women would talk at TED about innovative ideas they have about raising children, the talks would root in actual experience. (Just to be clear, I don't think women should be imprisoned by biology to be childraisers, I am a feminist.)

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