How to Improve Gender Diversity at Events

New Guide: How to Improve Gender Diversity at Events

Less than one-third of foreign policy events at SAIS include female speakers. That’s according to unofficial statistics compiled by SAIS Global Women in Leadership Club (GWL), which tracked event and panel participation during the fall of 2015. To improve gender diversity in events at SAIS and beyond, the club has published GWL’s Guide to Improving Gender Diversity at Your Event.

Johns Hopkins SAIS is no outlier when it comes to gender participation in public foreign policy forums. The Washington Post reported that out of over 200 Middle East-focused events at six leading DC think tanks in 2014, nearly two-thirds had only male speakers. In Davos at the 2016 World Economic Forum, 20 percent of the panels were comprised entirely of men.[1]

Students in the SAIS Global Women in Leadership on-campus club believe the academic and policy community of Johns Hopkins SAIS deserves the balanced, nuanced, and creative debates that only diversity can bring. More female voices also offers students shining examples of how women can lead in international affairs, economics, and global business.

SAIS GWL has launched a helpful How-to-Guide for event planners and event participants to remove some of the barriers to bringing more women into the discussion.

For event planners, the guide features a set of resources on how to make small and large changes to their processes—from when to invite women to speak to how to address them on the stage.

For potential participants, GWL encourages all foreign policy experts to join their colleagues in signing the pledge to participate in events only if the event is gender diverse. Panelists can also nominate respected colleagues to join them on panels and ask organizers which women will be presenting, not whether women will be presenting.

SAIS Global Women in Leadership hopes to see the quantity and quality of foreign policy discussions improve across campus and around Washington, DC. We encourage all members of the Johns Hopkins SAIS community to review the new guide, share it with their colleagues, and to send us any feedback or ideas on this initiative.




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