Why are ‘Manferences’ and ‘Manels’ Still a Thing?

Mar 21, 2021

In short, because Diversity and Inclusion is often a buzzword and only a priority when the world is watching. Without that constant pressure from external eyes or a strong internal driving force at the c-suite level, Diversity and Inclusion falls into the background throughout the whole organisation which means that unfortunately unconscious bias continues to be just that… unconscious. 

Without the awakening happening, the lack of bias awareness means that content producers seek recommendations from a homogeneous network resulting in a very homogenous conference or panel mainly of older, white, cis het privleged men - the least diverse type there is. 

 

In a world in which patriarchy is rife, how can you expect such conferences and panels to accurately represent women's voices and concerns when you have excluded them?


If patriarchy was truly a thing of the past, we wouldn’t have initiatives to get more women on boards, more women into tech, more women in senior positions. There just would not be a need for such things. These initiatives would cease to exist as inclusion would just be ‘the norm’ and would be championing true diversity of thought. Unfortunately, these ideals are still a work in process and this process would be much more efficient if we all took  a little bit more time in our speaker acquisition and ensured that we not only further amplifying the voices of those who are already being heard. 

It infuriates me that in 2021 ‘manferences’ and ‘manels’ are still a thing - how can people still not realise that representation matters? Representation is key, the voices of women, men, non-binary, Black, Asian, Mixed, Catholic, Musilim, able and/or neurodiverse deserve to be heard and should be part of discussions in every industry. It is vital that we continue to challenge the narrative of hurtful stereotypes and misconceptions founded by years of misrepresentation. Each and every one of us that we deserve to be seen and heard. 

 

No matter what position you hold in your organisation you have a voice.

Use it! Use it to call out the lack of representation within the company, within the speakers selected for events and within content published by the company. Don’t allow the voices of the diverse to be silenced by those who chose to leave their biases unchecked. 

 

Damilola Onamusi 
Founder & MD D.A.S.H Events
@dashe_uk


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