Conference ads give impression of lack of gender diversity

There have been advertisements in The Straits Times recently on the Singapore Management Festival and the Singapore WSH Conference.

Neither advertisement featured women speakers.

This is despite conference themes that range from being future-ready to disruption.

Are women not central to these discussions? Are women not capable of sharing their expertise in these topics?

One of the advertisements goes on to describe the members of an all-male panel as a "world authority", a "guru of Asian business", a "true human strength virtuoso", a "transformational growth leader", and a "futurist".

Are there no women who also meet these criteria and could have been a speaker?

For conferences that aim to "shape the right approach to positive change" by bringing together "some of the world's best management thinkers and business leaders", and to help "those who want to stay relevant and make meaningful contributions to their organisations", it would appear that women have been all but forgotten.

Where is the diversity? Where is the opportunity for women to contribute to these thought-leadership initiatives?

What Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom wrote bears repeating: "Women are half the world's population. Is it too much to ask for half the influence?"

Yvonne McNulty (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2018, with the headline 'Conference ads give impression of lack of gender diversity'. Subscribe