Open Question: Women speakers at conferences?

Anonymous asks:

I know this is a male dominated field, but can't the events like CFUnited find any female programmers to speak? Maybe all the girls work for Adobe and can't get away...

It would be nice to hear from a top female programmer and her experiences not only in the workplace but with CF. Even just for some fresh air. The aftershave at these events just kills me.

Just a thought. You've been a big help for me with CF. Later.

So I set this blog entry's title to Open Question because I have absolutely no idea what to tell her. I do have some experience with selecting speakers. I'm on the advisory panel for CFUNITED. I do not speak for CFUNITED, or cfObjective, or any other conference (and I'd love to hear from people helping managing these conferences), but I can say that I generally tend to only focus on the subject matter of a session when I'm picking which ones should be done. I try to keep in mind what sessions are fresh since folks don't like to see the same thing twice. But in terms of the person, well, I do know that big names tend to draw crowds, but in general, unless I've heard something negative about the speaker, I'm not going to really think much about the person presenting.

I think we can all say that the pool of female speakers is very small. If the percentage of people willing to speak at a conference is a minority in the pool of developers, and women are already a minority in this group, it seems like you are going to have a real difficult time getting more women speakers.

Any comments? Suggestions?

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