The contribution below is from Jackie Taylor, U San Francisco, who had mentioned in email a session at the APA where some women and, I believe, all African american philosophers were not called on. I think trying to create a structural guard against such things may well be the most promising approach there is.
Some of us have recently returned from the Pacific APA, where we were heartened to see many women active in sessions, both as speakers and audience members. Yet we still see some behavior that is detrimental to women — speakers monopolizing sessions, chairs failing to call on audience members (or only the most senior/famous), or calling on women only when time for the session threatens to run out. I spoke with Ned Markosian about this, who wrote to me,
There is this valuable commodity — being able to speak during Q&As — and it is unjustly distributed. I think that the extent to which this injustice has very harmful consequences in our profession is vastly under-appreciated.
I agree with him — someone who decides to be a more active bystander, and intervene to request that more people be called on, may be viewed as rude, or ignored, although such people are often praised by those with an active concern to change the behavior at our conferences.
Ned, as readers may know, organizes the BSPC conference in Bellingham, Washington. This is a very gender friendly venue, thanks in part to the following system for more evenly distributing time for asking questions:
While such a system is probably easiest to implement for individuals, small groups or societies organizing conferences, we hope that we can take this up with the APA to make it a more inclusive place where all have more opportunity to be heard.