Find the flaw

ll-Male History Conference. This goes for the Guinness Book of the century! A team of 30 white male historians will discuss Applied History at @Stanford. What a shame," twittered Ana Lucia Araujo, professor for history at Howard University in Washington. 2,670 liked the message, 1,582 retweeted it, and the New York Times was interested in the story. The newspaper's headline read "Stanford History Event Was ‘Too White and Too Male,’ Organizer Admits". The online community was also buzzing with the line-up of keynote speakers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES): six men. Reason enough for Gender Avenger to focus the attention on congresses. The initiative wants to shift the limelight on women in public discourse. In the USA Today, founder Gina Glantz explained: "Here’s the thing: It really matters who is on stage at CES, the largest consumer technology show in the world, representing an industry worth 5.2 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. Conferences like CES are part of a giant industry worth about $30 billion."

I absolutely agree with her. Our world of work is changing; it is becoming more diversified as a consequence of demographic change, the increasing share of women in gainful employment as well as globalization and immigration. According to the Charta of Diversity, only one third of all businesses in Germany is prepared for the foreseeable changes caused by a diversified world of work. The corporate initiative and its 2,800 signatories acknowledge the positive economic benefits of diversity and they promote tolerance, fairness and appreciation in the work world in particular and society in general – and that not only on paper. At more than 1,000 events to mark German Diversity Day aimed at standing up and showing colors on June 5 of this year, attendees in various organizations, institutions and businesses will host a range of initiatives including "Gay and Pray – It is ok!", "Young, old or what? – Focus on Generations and the Elderly" and "Diversity as Innovation Driver".

But what about the other 364 days a year? Do businesses and associations reflect the diversity of their communities at their conferences? Whenever I see single-gender "manned" podia, I think "find the flaw"; it's a pity that so many event organizers still do not appreciate the considerable signal effect congresses have. For Jeannine Koch, gender parity and diversity must have considerable relevancy in society and at high-profile conferences such as her re:publica. The director of the digital conference and her team have defined quotas for their keynotes, given by women, "people of colour" and "challenged people". Said Jeannine Koch: "It is our intention to reflect the world at the re:publica as it really is: divers!" Like.
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