all male panels

New Favorite Tumblr: Congrats, you have an all male panel!

I work at a think tank in DC. Every time I walk into an event, I tally the number of women in the room. I can usually count them on one hand. I then count the number of women either on the panel or participating in the roundtable — usually if there are any, they are early career professionals and sitting in the back of the room with me.

Congrats, you have an all male poverty summit!

“Congrats, you have an all male poverty summit!”

So when I opened Facebook this week to friends sharing photos from this amazing Tumblr, needless to say, I cheered. Congrats, you have an all male panel! documents panels, seminars, events, and various other things featuring all male experts. Like the White Guys Doing It For Themselves Tumblr before it, it offers photographic evidence of the scribbled tally marks on the margins of all of my notes, the murmurs between women in the bathroom, the sometimes awkward but mostly relieving head nod I make with the one other woman of color in the room. Here is a #Hoffsome funny — but also sad and somber — reminder of how unrepresented women are in professional settings.

As the New York Times wrote earlier this year, the male talk fest isn’t just anecdotal. Last year, six leading Washington think tanks presented more than 150 events on the Middle East that included not one woman speaker. Fewer than one quarter of all the speakers at the 232 events at those think tanks were women. In other words, not a single woman could be found to speak at 65 percent of these influential D.C. events in 2014. This discrepancy isn’t limited to thinks tanks or foreign policy — it taints everything from media representation (a woman over 65 is less likely to be cited as an expert in the media as a boy in the 13 to 18 age group), to the business world, to our legislative branch. Remember, the all-male Congressional committees that have some great ideas — and decide the law — on women’s health?

Thanks guys.


You can submit to the Tumblr here. As for helping phase out all-male panels, men, here’s a pretty easy first step. Just say no! Refuse to speak on all male-panels! As The Atlantic suggests, you might say: “You couldn’t find any women to teach? Look, I’d love to join the program, but I’ve made a pledge not to participate in all-male panels. And anyway, do you really want to send the message that there are no qualified women?”

Side note: I do the same tallying exercise for the number of people of color at every event I walk into — the numbers on that are almost always even more abysmal. Keep an eye out for my upcoming website: All White Panels. In the meantime, the same easy suggestion goes to my white friends too! Asked to speak on a panel about feminism and the panel is all white women? Just say no!

Header image credit: Congrats, you have an all male panel!

Mahroh is a community organizer and law student who believes in building a world where black and brown women and our communities are able to live free of violence. Prior to law school, Mahroh was the Executive Director of Know Your IX, a national survivor- and youth-led organization empowering students to end gender violence and a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Her research addresses the ways militarization, racism, and sexual violence impact communities of color transnationally.

Mahroh is currently at Harvard Law School, organizing against state and gender-based violence.

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