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A recent survey shows that “manels” — all-male panels — are alive and well.

The survey by Israeli event software company Bizzabo looked at thousands of the world’s largest professional events taking place in 23 countries over the past five years.

The results are … not encouraging.

Despite all the recent attention and public conversation around gender inequality, nearly 70 percent of the speakers were male.

Even more disheartening is that female representation has barely improved in the last five years – the number of women speakers has gone up by only two percent.

Bizzabo’s Gender Diversity & Inclusion in Events Report analyzed the gender diversity of more than 60,000 speakers at private sector events taking place from 2013 to 2018.

The study reveals both highs and lows. Across a range of industries, higher education has the most diverse speakers, with 56 percent male and 44 percent female.

But the technology space is still heavily lopsided. The lineup at internet-focused events is 79 percent male. Computer software event speakers feature 75 percent male speakers. IT services speakers are 80 percent male. And venture capital speakers are 82 percent male.

The survey also ranks countries by the gender diversity of their speakers. Out of the 23 countries, the US comes in third best, after Mexico and Kenya – where women make up 42 percent of speakers.

Another finding: Women are most often speakers at fundraisers, galas or social gatherings – more rarely do they appear on the podium at conventions, meeting and networking events, and conferences. Why is that?

These findings come at a time when event organizers in the US say they’re more focused than ever on booking women speakers.

Shifting social attitudes, the impact of the #metoo movement, social media pressure, and campaigns led by GenderAvengermanpanels.org and other advocacy groups have fueled the demand for diversity.

The survey’s authors hope more focus on the problem will spur change.

“By releasing this data, we hope to spotlight the lack of representation that’s still, unfortunately, too common,” says Alon Alroy, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer at Bizzabo. ”Every event benefits from having greater gender diversity and balance across its speaker lineup.”

 

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