Sometimes a little action can make a difference. Here’s an example.

I speak on a lot of conference panels, I also get to keynote a fair bit and moderate panels all around the place. So I’ve seen first hand the situation around diversity when it comes to conference panels.

Now diversity is a complicated thing – it’s not just about gender, but since the most basic level at which human beings can be classified is gender (ie, generally speaking, the vast majority of the world’s population fits into only two classes when it comes to gender – male or female).

So solving the gender diversity issue at conferences seems like a fairly obvious opportunity to make a change. So when my friend Lani pointed me in the direction of an initiative aimed at increasing conference diversity, I was keen. The pledge is very simple and is detailed below:

At a public conference, I won’t serve on a panel of two people or more unless there is at least one woman on the panel, not including the Chair.

So I signed up. This isn’t quite as simple as it seems, you see part of my income – in these days when actually writing good content and helping people understand the minutiae of technology isn’t enough to put food on the table – involves speaking at events, sometimes for a fee, or sometimes as part of a broader consulting package. By signing the pledge I very possibly reduce the opportunities I have to do paid work.

But, as I’ve said before, if we’re not willing to do the uncomfortable stuff in order to help change happen, that desired change will never occur. So I’ve signed up to the pledge and challenge my colleagues out there – vendors, journalists, analyst et al, to do the same.

So there’s the challenge – are you brave enough to suffer the potential consequences for a far greater good?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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