Last week Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the world’s largest funder for biomedical research made a simple, yet bold statement. As a person who has spoken as a conference that we have planned, and a sought after industry professional who no doubt gets invited to a countless number of speaking engagements, said that he will no longer engage in all male speaking panels. There are cute names for these panels such as “Manels” and others which you can read about.
This is a person who decided that he could be part of the problem of women being under represented in the professional work environment, almost as if they don’t have as much to say or add to any particular subject. Its almost as if they can come to a conference and consume information while paying for it, but are not considered as worthy to present information. I am sure he put thought into this decision and decided as one person, to do the right thing. This story has been covered by the NY Times, Vox, MSNBC, NBC, and others. Here is NBC’s link:
As an events industry professional, I have had the opportunity over my career to have a sometimes direct, sometimes peripheral view of some amazing speakers and presentations that have taught me a lot. Whether presented by a man or a woman, I am sure that Mr. Collin’s stand will “Shove” live events content curation in the direction of equality when considering its talent.