My colleague Clare McNeil wrote a piece last week setting out the case for ending all-male panels. It’s clear and compelling; if you haven’t already read it, please do.
IPPR holds well over 100 events every year. It is now our policy to ensure that there are no all-male panels at these events. We will also endeavour not to speak at events or broadcasts hosted by others if the panels are made up only of men.
To implement this policy, we will need to expand our networks. The Women’s Room is creating a growing directory of female experts and this is a great start. Our events list for 2013 will be an additional source for organisations looking to draw on a more diverse and interesting range of speakers, experts and participants. Others have led the way on this issue, but we want to put our own house in order and encourage others in our sector to do the same.
The good news is that British feminism is currently full of energy and political momentum. Issues of core concern to feminists – like childcare and shared parenting rights – are currently high up the political agenda. Organisations such as Object have successfully mobilised against the proliferation of lapdancing clubs and the ubiquity of pornography, while the EVAW coalition does the same for tackling violence against women. UK Feminista is training a new generation of activists. And young women are defining their own feminist voices on grassroots blogs like The Vagenda.
From now on, IPPR will ensure that it no longer holds any events with all male panels and that on every issue, we will hear women’s voices. We hope others will do the same.