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Dissing Women

Posted on June 13, 2006

By Brian Palmer

National Speakers Bureau clients work for organizations that, across the board, tout their commitment to diversity in the workforce and equal treatment for all employees.  When we put together speaker recommendations, we purposely provide a diverse speaker choice, a choice readily available in our market place.  But, no surprise to some of you (especially you, women speakers), men are consistently more apt to be chosen for the assignment than the equally qualified women speakers we offer.  What is happening here? 

It's extremely rare for a male to say something along the lines of: "Oh, our group won't listen to a woman." or "Our group isn't quite ready to hear the message from a woman."  Such sentiments are often shared by women.  I suggest they might be right in particular instances, but not nearly as often as they feel.  And when women speakers are being seriously considered by women, their selection too often requires a higher level of certainty.

This sort of thinking does organizations, events and those involved in the selection some harm.

I'm not suggesting one hire a speakers because of gender, I do recommend that you do not dismiss them for it.


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Joan Eisenstodt

Interesting and from the perspective of my experience, it has been the "male groups" (or formerly traditional 'male professions') that said they didn't want women - that they would not be taken seriously. In trying to find suitable speakers who are women, there seems to be not enough who address "business" topics. If one reads Fast Co. or Forbes or Fortune, it is often difficult to find women at the top of some professions who also speak well. Then maybe you're gonna address that too, Brian: SMEs who can't capture an audience's attention.

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