There are times when a thing happens, there is a backlash to that thing and I’m left struggling to figure out how and why anyone could possibly get so worked up about the thing. There are also times when no struggling is necessary. Times like when a security conference puts on a panel discussion about the contributions of women and the panel is made up entirely of dudes, for instance.
But on the agenda was an all-male panel discussion titled “Security solutions, Women’s contributions” which quickly raised eyebrows.
“They have to have a woman in the discussion,” said Bonnie Jenkins, executive director of the Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and conflict Transformation (WCAPS). Jenkins has spoken as a panelist at the security forum in the past, and says organizers should take this as a “teachable moment.”
When asked how this happened, organizers said the panel was not an accident.
“We are hoping to have a meaningful conversation,” said Paz Magat, the director for Peace with Women in Fellowship with HISF.
“In order to really leverage the human capacity of all people involved, we still need the people in positions of power to be able to do that, and we’re hoping this panel will address some of the barriers and challenges that still impede women.”
Barriers like…completely random shot in the dark here…not including them in discussions about them?
I’m not saying no guys on the stage. I don’t think anyone sensible is. But come on.
I’m reminded again of the saying I hear in the disability community that goes “nothing about us without us.” This shouldn’t have to be a teachable moment, but since it apparently does, that’s really the only rule of thumb anyone should need.
For the record, the lineup was eventually changed and did include two women. But that they had to be added last minute is still beyond ridiculous.