A new tech platform has launched to connect event organisers with female speakers in a bid to put an end to all-male panels.
WomenPresent wants to create a global, searchable database of female experts to help tackle the issue of a lack of diversity among speakers at industry events.
The not-for-profit platform allows public and private event organisers to create a request, detailing what type of session they are looking to fill and what types of speaking roles they need, from keynotes to subject presenters, panellists and moderators.
The first phase of the launch will initially focus on the tech industry in the UK and US, with expert female speakers being manually matched with event organisers.
“We’re seeing a vicious cycle at the moment where women are absent from panels and discussions, so it’s less likely they’ll put themselves forward for such speaking opportunities,” said co-founder Cadi Jones.
Jones is commercial director at New York-based advertising start-up Beeswax and head of partnerships at Bloom UK, a professional network for women.
“All-male keynotes, like the agenda seen earlier this year at CES in the US, are a real problem and we’re determined to stamp this out with WomenPresent,” she added.
Jones runs WomenPresent with fellow co-founders Susan Pierce, customer engineering manager, Cloud for Marketing, Google; Tom Jenen, director at Oriel Ventures; and partner Ruth Zohrer, chief product officer at Mindshare.
WomenPresent stressed that the platform is not about reducing men’s presence on stage, but about achieving gender diversity.