I’ve just gotten back from the Women in Secularism conference, which was made almost entirely of awesome, and was one of the best conferences I’ve been to. I’ll soon post a recap of the conference highlights.
But right now, I want to point you to some posts about one of the main topics of conversation at the con: the discussion, started by Jen McCreight on one of her panels, about some male speakers behaving badly towards women at conferences, and the fact that women who attend these cons regularly have an informal network warning each other away from these guys… since, for assorted reasons, women don’t feel safe talking about this publicly and naming names.
Stephanie Zvan at Almost Diamonds has two excellent posts up right now about the issue, summing up the main problems and proposing/ discussing solutions. She says most of what I want to say, so I’m just going to point you there:
Skatje Myers, guest posting on Pharyngula, also has a good post discussing this (near the end of the post):
And at WWJTD?, JT Eberhard has a related post, on a separate but not entirely unconnected issue: how conferences can be made comfortable and safe for women, free of the persistent unwanted sexual advances that are all too common… while still being welcoming to flirting and hooking up for people of all genders who want to do that:
It’s a somewhat separate issue from the one Jen raised at the conference — because of the power imbalance, “skeezy behavior on the part of some speakers/ organizers/ other leaders” and “skeezy behavior on the part of some conference attendees” are very different issues — but they’re not totally unrelated, and talk about one is almost certain to raise talk about the other. So go to Almost Diamonds and Pharyngula to talk about how to deal with predatory male speakers in an environment where women don’t feel safe naming names… and go to WWJTD? to talk about boundaries and social cues in flirting, physicality, and hooking up.