A global conference about women

It’s the first TEDwomen, which will bring women and men together to discuss women as agents of change in the world.  It will look as women as “change agent, intellectual innovator, idea champion …”.  “From the developing world, where a single micro-loan to a single girl can transform a village; to the West, where generations of educated women are transforming entire industries.”

One might have a problem with that contrast:  developing world village girl vs. educated generations of women in the west.  But do you have a problem with the general idea of a two day TED conference on women as change agents in the world?

Huffington Post has an interview with the “host” of the conference, Pat Mitchell.  They raise some of the issues that have been put forward on blogs, including whether there should be a TEDmen.  (I’m not sure Mitchell understood the implied objection, which seemed to be a reductio of the whole idea.)

Mitchell explains,

TEDWomen will focus on the ideas and innovations championed by women and girls. These cover everything from community development to economic growth to biodynamic farming to robotics to medical treatments to the use of technology for personal safety and peace making. Men and women speakers will take the TEDWomen stage with ideas that are reshaping our future, and matter deeply to all of us.

But unfortunately she then said:

First, the intent behind the conference is to explore in depth a subject we find fascinating and timely. We’re seeking out talks about women and girls (not just by them).

In depth?  Isn’t this the sort of case where one says that the speaker confuses breadth with depth?  The question I don’t want to answer alone is this:   Since the only common feature among the innovators will be their sex, is  the separate and distinct importance of what is being done by women diminished by emphasizing the common sex of the innovators? 

What do you think?

One thought on “A global conference about women

  1. You pose an interesting question on the blog about TED women. TED is about breadth. I don’t think the idea is for a real convergence or building of opinion. At the same time, its short format been really successful in sharing innovation ideas (rather richly) with a broader audience. It’s one of the very few places that’s packaged intellectuals and leaders of different walks of life putting world dignitaries on the same stage and footing as biologists. I look at it as deep as it gets outside of academic conferences with the added bonus of serious cross-disciplinary range and discussion of ideas and innovation more in the context of relevance/import.

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