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 13 2013: Is it possible that men show up more on TEDx stages simply because they have more original ideas than women ?? Can we face this one simple possible answer ??

    And what about considering such questions in opposite direction ?? Like, why the nursing profession is occupied so vastly by women ?? What changes should we make to balance the ratio in this profession ??
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      Nov 13 2013: I haven't seen a shred of evidence to support the idea that men have more original ideas than women. And until you can present a solid and well-built case to defend that statement, you should refrain from even floating the idea. It is extremely offensive and oppressive. Ideas like this are why professional gender inequalities remain so entrenched.
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        Nov 13 2013: Just what we need.... keeping score....
        Get over it, the world isn't fair. Don't go charging windmills, submit your ideas and let them be judged on their merit, not on quotas....
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        Nov 13 2013: To clarify,.... saying “more original ideas”, I was referring the “More” to the ideas and not to their originality—meaning to the Ideas’ numbers and not to their quality.

        However, part of your reply proves that the second question of mine was to the point – “Can we face this one simple possible answer ??”

        In your reply you do not face my first question but you try to shut me up. You are talking like an extreme religious person who forbids even raising any simple doubt in God (“you should refrain from even floating the idea.”). This alone is enough for me to doubt your judgment about almost any arguments//data you provide.

        My general argument is this: Women should start to take responsibility as individuals to what they do, they achieve or not achieve, and stop dumping every failure of theirs onto the society and men. Women always were and are 50 percent of the society and so they share the responsibility with men to the past as well as to the present and the future.
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          Nov 13 2013: Thanks for clarifying Yubal,
          In my humble perception and experience, women have taken responsibility for their/our roles from the beginning of humankind. Women certainly ARE 50 percent of the society, and we HAVE shared the responsibility. Perhaps it is time to recognize that fact.
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          Nov 13 2013: Yulbal, no matter how you define "more" in your statement, it is offensive to women. Also, I am not trying to shut you up. I am simply stating my opinion that it is unwise to float such an inflammatory idea without evidence to support it.
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          Nov 13 2013: Which, by the way, you still haven't provided. Let me know when you do, and then I will gladly rejoin the conversation.
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        Nov 14 2013: It all starts with overall understanding of certain reality. In this case the reality as I see it regarding the genderic differences. It’s NOT just about ideas for TEDx. The issue of ideas for TEDx is just one side aspect of the general reality. My views are not just my subjective opinions, but the views are based upon various scientific studies which can be found on the web and as I shall specify below.

        The fundamentals of these studies and so also of my own views regarding the genderic issue are that there ARE basic inborn (biological) differences between men and women which materialize into practical genderic differences in the various actions both men and women take. The grave mistake the society has committed for many generations is that the society has pushed forward these basic genderic differences into extremity by imposing rules, customs, traditions, discrimination....etc, by assuming that if there are certain natural genderic differences, then we as humans should “improve” the nature’s choices by stressing further these natural differences.

        As I see it nowadays, there’s a counter reaction to this mistake of the society. But this counter reaction is again making the same mistake as committed for so long by the society. This reaction is again extreme in the sense that it ignores or even tries to wipe out the natural inborn differences in the name of Equality, Feminism….etc.

        “10 Gender Differences Backed Up by Science”

        “It's not sexist to accept that biology affects behavior”:

        “Gender-Specific Differences Found In Human Brain”:

        Book: “The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain” (read the Book Description little below):
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          Nov 14 2013: Yubal,
          There is no question that men and women are biologically different.

          The topic question here is..."How can TEDx events balance the ratio of female to male speakers?"

          You respond..."Is it possible that men show up more on TEDx stages simply because they have more original ideas than women ?? Can we face this one simple possible answer ??"

          1) Do you have anything to support that statement?
          2) How does that statement contribute to the topic discussion?
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      Nov 13 2013: Well said Diana,

      To address your questions....
      "Like, why the nursing profession is occupied so vastly by women ??"

      I suggest that women have been characterized as care givers and emotional supporters throughout most of history. So, in our patriarchal societies, the nursing and teaching professions were more "acceptable" and encouraged.

      What changes should we make to balance the ratio in this profession ??

      First and foremost, it would be helpful to change the thinking....beginning with the idea that "men show up more on TEDx simply because they have more original ideas than women". Let us not forget, that in patriarchal societies, women are often discouraged from presenting original ideas.
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      Nov 13 2013: Yubal; We men are driven to tinker (although we prefer such terms as "invent, develop, improve and discover, etc."), not because we come up with more original ideas than women, but because we aren't equipped to compete with them in their role in procreation.

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