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A quick plug for the latest issue of the fanzine Journey Planet – Issue 13 – which can be downloaded for free here.

I was invited to contribute to a discussion following the decision for Eastercon 2013 to progamme for gender parity and Paul Cornell’s commitment to not being on all male panels. This discussion, in the form of many varied answers and opinions on the topic is presented in this issue of Journey Planet. It’s guaranteed to make you angry but what is really interesting is that everyone will be angry to different responses and to me that’s the most important thing. We are all different and we see the issues and solutions differently. And “women” are not one homogenous subset who all think and feel and see the world the same. I hope this issue kicks off respectful discussions with depth and I think, there are many paths up the mountain but the important thing is that the more we talk about it and the more we highlight the issues, the better chance we have of it being visible and in the forefront of everyone’s minds. Because then, with quotas or without, if people are thinking “hey we should ask this person” or “we should examine why we only have men speaking/writing/volunteering/participating on this”, we have a greater chance of them then asking why and considering the answer. I think that’s a huge step forward, no matter the outcome.



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  • By Ross on 23 July 2012 at 4:40 am

    Hmmm, a lot of naysayers there when it comes to whether gender parity is even possible on con panels. As programmer for the recent NZ Natcon, I thought I should check my own back yard first. I’ve just did the calculation and it turns out that 54% of panel places at the con were filled by women.

    Apart from one item which had a very specific sex oriented topic, I didn’t consider gender parity at all when putting people on panels con. But I did put a big emphasis on inclusiveness. Both in terms of spreading the net of topics as widely as possible but also in terms of gathering from the broad range of attendees rather than relying on the same old faces to fill the panels. The rest of the concom and I made a conscious effort to find out whether people registering for the con had things that they were prepared to share and if so invited them to participate in the programme.

    It is only one data point and the circumstances of our rather small con aren’t necessarily going to be duplicated elsewhere. Nevertheless it is nice to know that some sort of equity can be achieved without enforcement of quotas or something equally heavy handed.

  • By AlisaK on 23 July 2012 at 6:55 am

    I guess at some point I should check how my con actually did as well. We didn’t set a quota either but just generally tried, as you say, to be inclusive and reach beyond the reasonably suspects. If anything, we tried to limit people to a maximum number of panels, which forced us to look for more people. I think the quota is best used for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able or interested in reaching beyond the usual – which does take longer and is more work.

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