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Blog #BalanceforBetter: International Women's Day 2019

#BalanceforBetter: International Women's Day 2019

Hello! I’m Holly, I’m from Manchester and I have recently joined Speakers Corner as a Copywriter. I hold a degree in English Literature from Oxford, and this is my first step in the real world. I moved to London with no job and a single month’s rent, in hope of finding a writing job and to be at the heart of the UK’s literary culture.

This Friday, 8th March 2019, millions of people will be taking part in events to mark International Women’s Day. You’ll surely know of the annual event, and may have seen footage from strikes, protests and parties held across the world.

As a speaker bureau, this day can be one of our biggest for bookings. From panel events, to keynotes, and women’s awards, International Women’s Day provides space to pay tribute to the achievements of women and raise awareness about the ongoing fight for gender equality.

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The 2018 campaign garnered much coverage under the banners of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Although these campaigns are very much still ongoing, this year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter.

The theme is a chance to encourage the acceleration of gender balance in business, politics, media coverage and wealth. We thought this would be the perfect time to share what we do here at Speakers Corner to address gender inequality in the speaking industry.

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It is no secret, nor surprising, that the majority of speakers are middle-aged white men, often entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders. We, at Speakers Corner, are addressing this bias, and are taking a few key steps to strive to #BalanceForBetter in the future.

A simple, yet crucial aspect to our work is providing clients with diverse shortlists. We are committed to making sure that, for every brief we receive, we recommend a variety of speakers. This not only includes gender, but the intersections of race, age, disability and background. Our huge privilege as a leading speaker bureau is promoting the sharing of stories and messages, and we know how important it is to use our platform to make sure these stories are inclusive of a range of identities.

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Our next goal is to improve the gender split on our database. We have over 7,000 speakers, and, at current, the majority of those are men. We have made it our personal mission to reach 50/50 on the gender split by 2020 and reach 25% for BAME speakers.

This goal is so important to us, that we are in the process of setting up a speaker research desk. That is, a desk where each team member will assume the ‘hot seat’ once a fortnight. The allocated time spent in the speaker research desk is to search for new speakers, filling any gaps we see arise. This could be in up-and-coming areas for speaking but has a key focus on recruiting speakers from minority groups.

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So many of us work in industries that favour men, even if we don’t realise it at first. International Women’s Day marks the opportunity to assess the environments you operate in: are there more men in leadership positions around you? Do your coworkers whose identity includes woman shy away from asking for a pay rise? How many BAME people has your manager employed over the last year?

We would love to hear the steps you or your organization plan to take this year to #BalanceforBetter.

For further information or to book a speaker, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070+44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk.

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