Wednesday, June 25, 2008

high-tech women get a speaker's bureau

Here's a site that uses technology to help women working in high-tech get closer to speaking opportunities: GeekSpeakr allows you to post a profile, including your topics and expertise, to help event organizers identify women speakers. The site also includes a graph showing the top 25 topic tags for registered speakers. GeekSpeakr's in beta, and needs you to register for its launch.

In my interview with Elizabeth Travis, PhD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, she noted the extra effort it takes to put women on scientific and technical panels:

I organized an international meeting a year ago as a program chair and I said to my committee “Do not bring me a symposium without at least one woman speaker.” There was the usual rolling of the eyes and comments like “Don’t we want the best?” That’s used frequently to challenge women. I said “You have just insulted every woman in this organization.” One man was so keen to do this, he had a symposium with all women faculty speaking—it takes that kind of effort.
Are there sites for your profession that do what GeekSpeakr does for high-tech women? Let me know in the comments, and I'll post a compilation. If your professional organization or networking group includes a speakers' bureau or similar signup, make sure your name and topics of interest are registered there, too.