All male platforms

menThe sight of an all male platform party, or one that is clearly dominated by men is a scene that should be challenged in almost all situations. The same is true of all female panels. There are a few exceptions where inviting speakers to participate risks becoming tokenistic and the theme or subject justifies a particular gender bias. Examples of this are certain engineering disciplines where there are almost no women who work in the sector. However that should by its very nature send out a clear message that the sector is crying out for change. The same is true of early years practitioners which if ever invited to sit on a platform would illustrate how strongly dominated the sector is. However in almost all other settings a panel of decision makers should show a strong degree of balance. The decision taken by Jo Miller, CEO of Doncaster and Donna Hall, CEO of Wigan to host an alternative conference on the Northern Powerhouse is to be applauded. However how much better for the men concerned with the other conference if they had called on the organisers to reorder the conference and volunteered to step down to ensure that a range of voices would be heard. There are very few sectors of society where only men or only women have a grasp of the whole picture, and even in those settings it is probable that a more balanced make up would be welcomed when groups of people gather to listen to experts or people whose views count. I work in an industry where almost all the hands on practitioners are men and although there are many women working within the businesses, women at senior levels of engineering competence are few and far between. One notable exception within the Audio Visual industry is Babs Moore who is one of the Directors at Amina who make ‘invisible’ loudspeakers. Babs role is primarily within marketing rather than the design or the manufacturing of the products but nevertheless she has Technological background and has a strong grasp of the product make-up that could stand against any engineer within the industry. Our sector is crying out for more women to get involved at an engineering as well as an administrative level but most of our businesses including the UK manufacturers are SME’s and so creating the wealth to go out and promote the opportunities amongst pupils in Schools on a widespread basis is not easy and the apparent glitz and glamour of a sound mixer or lighting desk seems to attract a never ending supply of teenage boys keen to learn more. However this does mean we miss out on the values and understanding that women would bring to our business.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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