If we invite female speakers and they do not accept, what should we do ?
As we have highlighted in the “reasons why” page, mix of women and men in a panel has implications on the quality of the discussion, but also on the visibility of role models for women participating to the event. As a signatory of the InclusivePanels Charter, we encourage you to make sure your final panels are mixed. Ideally, ask several female speakers for their participation. If half the panel members are female and one is last-minute cancelling, you will still have a mixed panel.
If we invite only the best experts, and they are all men, why should it matter, what should we do ?
In some cases, for a specific theme, you may find out that all relevant experts are male. For instance, you want to invite ambassadors of Belgium to Countries of a certain region, and they are (fact) all men. In this case you may want to adapt the title of the panel, mixing for instance those Ambassadors with Cultural Delegates in those same countries (among which you will find some women)
If we only have male experts, is the panel inclusive if we ask for a female moderator ?
Having a female moderator and male experts is not providing a mixed panel : experts are masculine, and the moderator is asking them to display their experience and views. So both advantages of mixed panels are lost : the mix of different experiences, and the signal to the audience about female experts being invited.
What should you think about homogeneous female panels ? Why are they sometimes ok ?
Today, glass ceilings in career, underrepresentation of women in media and organisations, are still facts. Due to this underrepresentation, making women extra visible through some events may make sense.
It all depends on the theme of your conference.
Let’s imagine we would want to understand how the life of women working in automotive sector is. You invite 3 speakers. Clearly, you invite 3 women working in that sector. And this is perfectly ok.
If the purpose is about how working in the automotive sector is nowadays, if you invite 3 speakers, you make sure at least one is a woman. Even if the vast majority of workers in that sector are men.
You are encouraging a generations mix on panels – In some cases, it is hard to find younger experts. What should we do ?
What you want during a panel is presenting a range of experiences and points of view. Someone more recently in a role may have a different analysis, and bring a fresh view on issues. Young people in the audience will be grateful for this opportunity as well.
If I am organising a panel in Brussels, in English, why should I care about language diversity of the speakers ?
Mixing Flemish and French speaking speakers in a panel in English is also adding an interesting diversity of experiences and cultures in the discussion. And participants of both language groups will feel more included.
How do we make our event accessible to all, also participants with special needs ?
The easiest way is to ask, in the registration form, that participants indicate any special needs regarding accessibility, or the need for a sign translator. Of course, make sure to review those answers, and to book a translator if needed, or have access for participants in wheelchairs if asked.
Think about accessibility from the start, when choosing your venue (accessible by public transportation, accessible building, subtitles when showing films, sign language interpretation etc). https://inter.vlaanderen/over-inter (in NL only) gives advice on how to make your events accessible.
In FR handyeventsguide_fr (1).pdf gives also useful advice.
If your event foresees buffet catering, you don’t need to ask participants about dietary requirements, just make sure to provide vegetarian food, and to indicate clearly any pork / alcohol / gluten / meat / allergens in the dishes.