Women: please steal this idea

I have way too many ideas that I don’t set free. Here’s one I know I won’t get to, but would love someone else to take on.

The nominators

The nominators is a group of diverse women (though not necessarioy just women) who dedicate time to nominating women for awards and speaking engagements. So many awards and panels and keynotes are dominated by men, and it perpetuates a cycle of a specific segment being seen as the “best” or as the “expert”.

Many people who hold conferences and awards lament that the reason we don’t see more women is that women are just not putting their names forward.

There are obviously many complexities that influence this issue, and many angles at which to attack this issue, but one approach is to straight up nominate more women.

I imagine a group of women spanning a variety of sectors and stages of career. They compile awards and key conferences in their professions, communities, etc. And on an ad-hoc basis, with the women of the group who know the award/conference theme well, they take these opportunities one by one and set plans forward to nominate multiple women.

I’m not (only) talking about awards and conferences that are designed for women (e.g. the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards), I mean all awards and conferences. And the group also needs to be conscious of promoting all types of women – no need to reproduce inequality by only putting forward white women, using the same excuses of “but we don’t get applications from women of colour/Aboriginal women/immigrant women [insert any marginalized group]”.

This requires nominees to be on board. It feels uncomfortable for some of us, but we need to convince more women for the sake of the “movement”.

I was nominated for a few things earlier this year, and have often complained about (or boycotted, looking at you TEDxVancouver)  events that are dominated by men. To be the change I wish to see, I’ve started taking a few actions personally – e.g. when calls for speakers come out, I put forward my own name along with a list of other possible women. For examples, I’m excited to see many fantastic women speaking at the upcoming Digital Nonprofit conference in Vancouver – kudos for Eli for pulling together a great line up.

Seriously, anyone want to take this on in Vancouver or elsewhere?