These men would like you to kindly shut up about gendered conferences

UK charity Entangled Bank Events (who describe themselves as a charity “run by a group of experienced business and events-management volunteers who are passionate about science”) are hosting a symposium with speakers including Bill Bailey, Richard Dawkins, Richard Wiseman, Richard Fortey and Quentin Cooper. There are no women on the program. The conference website contained a helpful FAQ, which included the following:

This portion of the FAQ has since been removed. Jezebel has more on the story.

18 thoughts on “These men would like you to kindly shut up about gendered conferences

  1. Sometimes I wonder what’s going on in the minds of people who post things like that. You’d think that someone who knows about and gets all mad when they think about how their conference fails to have any women, is at least knowledgeable about the perception of the importance of the problem, and so would at least also have figured out that they will have to take it down immediately, and nothing good will come of it (from their perspective). Sigh

  2. My new go-to example of fallacious appeal to authority (We’re scientists, so we know how this ought to be done)?

  3. Notice also the selective appeal to “accepting reality.” After all, complaints about all-male events are just as much a part of reality as are the all-male events themselves. And yet, as scientists, they seem to be going out of their way to express their wish that it were otherwise.

  4. “Wanting something to be otherwise does not make it so.”

    You know what also doesn’t make it [more women in conferences] so?
    Laziness and a poor grasp of sociological influences on conference line-ups.

  5. They’ve posted a response to the criticisms about this:

    We tried. We failed. The event was set up at short notice and as it happened, of all the excellent people we approached the only ones available on the day were men. We knew this wasn’t ideal and questions would be asked, so we tried to make a joke about it.
    We tried. We failed. Should have been spotted by us, but as soon as our attention was drawn to it – via Twitter – we removed it. That only added to the confusion as some people saw the reactions without always knowing what was being reacted to.

    So, sorry. It’s not through lack of effort the line-up is wide-ranging in the nature of their brilliance but entirely mono-gendered, but it is our fault the attempt at levity about it fell flat. And we do appreciate the efforts of all those who drew our attention to the error.

  6. Thanks, Prof Manners. Allow me to recap the response more succinctly:

    “Feminists are irrational man-haters who can’t spell. Geez, that’s a joke, you can’t take a joke? FINE, ‘we should have spotted it’ — your humorlessness, that is. Happy now?”


  7. Bill Bailey, please bail. Richard Dawkins is a clear no-hoper, and I’ve never heard of the others, but I’ll think far less of Bill Bailey if he sticks it out with what is now an unapologetic (oops I mean faux apologetic) stinky poo parade.

  8. “I was just joking” is a common defense of abusers. “It was just an attempt at levity” seems to be the British educated scientist version.

  9. Question: What does Kathleen Lowrey mean when she says that Richard Dawkins is “a clear no-hoper”? That we should have no *hope* in Dawkins? Vis-a-vis what? I am curious about the history here.

  10. I must say that is one of the phoniest apologies I have ever seen in this world full of phony apologies and written statements by the assistant director of relations (appointed by a steering committee.)

    That said, I am on pins and needles (!!!1) for another popular science conference about the importance of evolution and how cognitive biases can lead to belief in the Supernatural. Those topics have not been beaten to death, at all, and clearly only this select group of musicians, comedians, and popular scientists could have been summoned to give these issues the treatment they deserve :0

  11. David R. Logan — ha ha ha ha aha haahah aha

    Logic Fan — I meant in re: DAwkins’ relationship to feminism, an eminently googleable topic.

  12. I can’t imagine why women didn’t feel welcome and accept conference invitations from these clearly stand-up guys, and it’s really too bad that the organizers have accepted consistent female rejection as their reality.

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