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 11 2013: Re: "why men are more likely to show up on TEDx stages speaking than do women. "

    What's the breakdown? Do you have the numbers?
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      Nov 11 2013: We have been noticing a dramatic difference, Theodore. But no specific stats exist, as far as I am aware.
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        Nov 11 2013: Well, I will suggest that any disproportion is representative of society at large.
        In academia the breakdown of professorships is 63% male, 37% female, but this is changing.
        Additionally, TED seeks out those with compelling ideas. Does this always need to play out in a proportionate way? Should TEDWomen be required to have an equal number of male speakers. Should there be a TEDMEN ( which there should be,, since there is a need)?
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          Nov 11 2013: Theodore, I am wondering why I chuckled at your clever inquiry about a TEDMen. What would be the focus and need for such an Xperience? Who would be included? What ideas would be innovative, inventive, and inspiring for TEDMen?
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        Nov 11 2013: Re: TEDMen

        As you already noted by including the link to the Zimbardo TEDTalk, boys are struggling.
        " Girls outperform boys now at every level, from elementary school to graduate school. There's a 10 percent differential between getting BA's and all graduate programs, with guys falling behind girls. Two-thirds of all students in special ed. remedial programs are guys. And as you all know, boys are five times more likely than girls to be labeled as having attention deficit disorder -- and therefore we drug them with Ritalin."

        With the number of single parent households (read, household where mother's are the sole parent) this situation is not going to be getting better any time soon.
        This is also spelled out in Ali Carr-Chelman TEDTalk when she mentions the 100 Girl Study.
        "The Hundred Girls Project tells us some really nice statistics. For example, for every 100 girls that are suspended from school, there are 250 boys that are suspended from school. For every 100 girls who are expelled from school, there are 335 boys who are expelled from school. For every 100 girls in special education, there are 217 boys. For every 100 girls with a learning disability, there are 276 boys. For every 100 girls with an emotional disturbance diagnosed, we have 324 boys. And by the way, all of these numbers are significantly higher if you happen to be black, if you happen to be poor,"
        But the strongest case is the TEDTalk by Jackson Katz: Violence Against Women.
        " That whole range of issues that I'll refer to in shorthand as "gender violence issues," they've been seen as women's issues that some good men help out with, but I have a problem with that frame and I don't accept it. I don't see these as women's issues that some good men help out with. In fact, I'm going to argue that these are men's issues, first and foremost.
        Read the comments there and I think you will find a case for a TEDMen Conference that might explore the need for men to reinvent themselves for the 21st century.

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