Sarah Milstein is TechWeb’s General Manager, Co-Chair for Web 2.0 Expo and a tech writer. In a recent post on radar O’Reilly she writes, “Would I attend my own conference? Why conferences need more diversity.”
Sarah specifically mentions technology conferences where the slate is heavily slanted with men. She points to popular conferences like TechCrunch Disrupt’s NY 2010 show and the Web 2.0 Summit where 10% or less of the speakers were women. This is no surprise to Sarah, she says “It’s well-documented that women are underrepresented in the tech sector.”
As a techie librarian who responsible for some of the section programs for this year’s annual meeting and as a co-chair for the 2012 meeting, Sarah has me wondering about MLA and other library conferences. Are we diverse enough?
The library world has more women than men, and I like to think that we try and think about physical diversity (women, men, cultural, ethnic, etc.). But are we providing diverse enough speakers regarding their library background (hospital, academic, special medical, government, etc.)? Do we provide enough diversity in the program or is it too tech heavy, consumer health heavy, or reference heavy?
Since I am librarian who likes to work with technology, I tend to focus and attend tech programs, but I do have other interests and I realize there are other librarians who are not as interested in technology.
So in your opinion do medical library conferences (MLA, regional, local) have diverse topics and speakers, or are we trotting out the same people with the same topics? If you think we could be more diverse, then what are you looking for and in what ways can you think we can accomplish this? Let me know.