Why didn't more women pitch at #commscamp13?

#commscamp13 (http://www.commscamp.com) a brilliant event organised by the amazing Dan Slee, Ann Kempster and Darren Caveney took place on 26 February 2013 at The Bond in Birmingham.


  1. Pauline Roche (@paulineroche) and I had chatted a little on twitter in advance of the day about what we might pitch - Pauline was suggesting something around local government comms officers working with the voluntary sector more. As we lurked at the back of room while the pitches started (just along from the viewpoint the photographer below had), Pauline said to me "look". And if you do look at the photo you can see it yourself. About half of the participants of the unconference were women (as you can see from the backs of the heads of the seated folk). And what is the representation of women in the line of people at the front who are pitching? NOWHERE NEAR 50%!
  2. So with a bit of nudging from Pauline I ran up and joined the back of the queue. I actually asked if the women sitting down would mind standing up. No-one moved, so I asked them to put their hands up. This demonstrated that women did make up about half of the people in the room (albeit people who were not eager to take up more space than they were already doing or bring attention to themselves by standing up). So I pitched a session on why more women hadn't pitched.
  3. Lloyd Davis and Dan Slee lived up to my view that they are among the most amazing people in the world, by quickly picking up on the point being made, and warmly encouraged women who might have ideas to come up and pitch them. 
  4. The session was put in the first time slot (perhaps purposely by the organisers, who may have anticipated more pitches resulting from the session). Here's what I can find that was tweeted both by people in the session and others following the discussion on twitter. 
  5. Si Whitehouse and I were keen to explore what could be done at future unconferences/open space sessions to address  barriers to participation by people who have less power, less confidence etc.