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New Study: Almost Two-Thirds of Professional Event Speakers Are Male

We analyzed event data from thousands of events over the past seven years and discovered that events still have a long way to go when it comes to gender diversity.

We recently released the results of our annual “Gender Diversity & Inclusion in Events Report."

In our 2018 report, we saw that 70% of event speakers are male. This year, we saw that there has been some improvement in gender equity—but not by much. 

The report analyzed the gender diversity of more than 60,000 event speakers over a seven-year period, from 2013 to 2019. The study spanned 58 countries across five continents, 45 industries and thousands of the world’s largest professional events.

“Forward thinking business leaders, and marketers intuitively know that gender balance is important to the overall success of an event,” said Eran Ben-Shushan, Co-Founder & CEO at Bizzabo. “We’re releasing this data to help more leaders and organizations realize that the gender gap is still large, and unfortunately, closing all too slowly.”

Almost Two-Thirds of All Event Speakers are Male

On average more than two-thirds (66%) of all speakers between 2013 and 2019 were male, while just one-third (33%) were female according to our global analysis. This is a three percent jump from last year’s analysis, which showed 69 percent of speakers to be male, and only 31 percent to be female. 

gender-diversity-study-2019-by-speakers

“This year’s analysis has shown progress, when compared to last year’s study but, unfortunately, not enough,” said Alon Alroy, Co-Founder of Bizzabo. “The narrow three percent bump, even with taking into account the smaller dataset used last year, shows that we still have a long way to go before there is greater gender balance within events.”

When Compared to the U.S. & Canada, the U.K. Falls Short 

When comparing the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Canada tied for most diverse, with 64 percent male versus 36 percent female, respectively. In the U.K, 69 percent of all speakers were male, while 31 percent were female, making it the least diverse of the three. 

Of the 55 other countries studied, 19 came in last with almost zero percent of female speakers. Those 19 countries included: Turkey, Czech Republic, South Korea, Philippines, Cote D’Ivoire, Macau, Norway, Malta, Qatar, Indonesia, Poland, Bahamas, Austria, Malaysia, Finland, Uruguay, Peru and Slovakia. 

The deep dive also found that the country with the highest number of female speakers was Kenya, at 40 percent female versus 60 percent male. Right behind Kenya was Mexico (38 percent female), followed by both the U.S. and Canada, which tied for third place at 36 percent female.

2 Gender Distribution of Speakers by country-min

Education Leads the Charge with Ideal Gender Diversity While Tech Remains Low 

Bizzabo’s study revealed that events for Information Technology & Services proved to have a long way to go before achieving greater gender balance, with 76 percent male versus 24 percent female. Computer Software events were slightly more diverse with 68 percent male and 32 percent female. Technology events were found to be 63 percent male and 37 percent female, and Internet events were revealed to be 60 percent male versus 40 percent female.

In comparison, Education Management was found to have a 50/50 split (50% female / 50% male), showing ideal gender diversity. And, Higher Education wasn’t far behind with 40 percent female versus 60% male. 

3 Gender Distribution of Speakers by industry-min

Events for Job Search and Info Sessions Found to be Most Diverse Event Type

In analyzing gender distribution across speakers by event type, Bizzabo’s study found Job Search & Info Sessions (69% female versus 31% male) and Fundraisers & Galas (58% female versus 42% male) to be the most diverse. 

It also discovered that Summits (85% male versus 15% female) and Conferences & Conventions (66% male versus 34% female) to be the least diverse.

gender-diversity-study-2019-by-event-type

“Fixing the problem requires a conscious effort on the part of conference organizers to look outside their immediate networks and to set goals, like aiming for 50/50 representation,” concluded Ben-Shushan. 

See how leaders from IBM, Intel, Forbes, Twilio and other top brands are addressing diversity around gender and beyond in the IN-PERSON Podcast.

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