September 01, 2006

Your Balls Are in Your Court

When so many male colleagues line up together against you, by the very assemblage of their smiling faces, and after so long online, it dismisses your work, makes you feel like the net is a joke. And if not the entire net, then what we as women have accomplished professionally online -- or think we have accomplished.

Shelley pretty much nails what's wrong with this picture.

The only thing I have to add is a shout out to the men who have been promoting this conference -- those who full well know the speaker page is littered with 53 men and no (Shelley says one--I don't see her) woman.

Fuck You.

Especially to those on the list I consider friends, I say, Fuck You.

Yes, you Stowe, and you Ross, and you Jeff, and you Paul and the rest of you.

If we were standing in a bar and you pulled out this Office 2.0 hard-copy pamphlet and said to me, "Hey, I'm supporting this Office 2.0 thing by speaking there--have a look," I would have opened it, read it, and looked you in the eye and asked, "You're kidding, right?" Then you'd say, "No, my picture and name are right there--my brand. It's co-branded."

And I would say: FUCK YOU.

After Tara's more gentle attempt failed to elicit anything but the ever-famous lamest excuse on the net -- "Well, what should we do? Where are the women speakers?" I turned away in disgust. But I had to turn back for a minute just to say, Fuck you.

Then I saw Shelley ask the men of Office 2.0 what needs to be done, and I had to add my advice:

They need to NOT GO and say why.

Reschedule the motherfucker. Meet some women. Learn something. Tell the advertisers, "Our bad. We thought it was 1906, not 2006. Ooops!" The donate the money they paid you to the breast cancer society in the sponsoring company's name and start over.

Give them free ads on the new Office 2.0.2 conference site. Show that you give a damn.

But if you stand up at this conference with its current lineup and take the economic advantages that come along there, then Fuck you guys. And I'm not giving you the "Unfuck" sign until you say or do something meaningful.

Already book your travel? Tough titties--meet your friends there and play golf. Go drop off a $50 check at a battered women's shelter. Go take some books or videos to The Children's Hospital. But for crying out loud, don't touch that stage.

Think my approach is too unilateral, then do what Shelley suggests. Ask the big boys what can be done in their estimation:
Ask them directly, these men who go to this conference: what should we do?

Ross Mayfield
(speaker profile), you’re hosting the list of potential women speakers from the last set of discussions on this..what should we do?

Stowe Boyd (speaker profile), you’ve been vocal in your condemnation of other conferences that have so few women…what should we do?

Michael Arrington (speaker profile), you profess to want to bring back ‘core values’ into weblogging. Aren’t fairness and equality and diversity core values? Aren’t they, perhaps, the most important core values? If so, what should we women do?

Marc Orchant (speaker profile), you wrote about this for ZD Net, and mentioned about C/Net being a sponsor. I have to wonder how C/Net feels about being associated with a conference that has such an obvious bias against women. Do you know the answer? Can you tell us what women need to do differently?

David Young, your conference photo shows you with your daughter, and your profile says you have two daughters. Do you want them to have an equal opportunity to participate in the web of the future? Rather than increasing in numbers and visibility, we’re actually losing ground in this brave new world. By the time your daughters are in college, at the rate we’re going now, women will make up less than 10% in the fields related to the web and the internet. As a father of daughters, how do you feel about this? What do you think we need to do differently?

Yah, huh?