On January 20, 2015, I saw an ad in a local business publication for a large business event. The ad only showed men as presenters. I initially thought, ‘I’m sure there are women speaking, they’re just not on the cover?”
Soon after investigating the event details I learned that out of approximately 12 presenters and keynotes, only one was a woman, on a small panel. Why were no women participating in this large-scale business event? Was it because they weren’t asked? Did they refuse the request? Were there no women experts who could speak on the topic? Digging a little deeper, it was evident that women weren’t even considered let alone asked to participate.
If something isn’t done now, this scenario is never going to change! It’s time for action!
I was able to rally a group of dedicated volunteers to organize what is now Speaking of Gender. Our mission is to ensure women are represented in leadership and speaking roles in professional and public programs. We created a Parity Pledge, the first of its kind in the United States, that both presenters and participants can sign to ensure gender equality in public forums.
The Parity Pledge is a statement individuals will sign promising to use their influence and voice to ensure representation of women in public dialogue.
Thanks to a very committed group of women who have offered their expertise, passion and time to make Speaking of Gender a reality. Here in Columbus, Ohio and across the nation, we aim to implement action steps that will help us all champion change toward gender equality.
Join us and take action toward gender equality!
– Mary B. Relotto, Founding Partner
Many thanks to the women who, from the beginning educated, inspired, played devil’s advocate, taught, stimulated, and questioned the movement.