Speaker Gender Divide in South Wales Tech Meetups 2018

2018 Prisma PieAround this time last year, I published an analysis of the speaker gender divide of all the South Wales tech/digital meetups I could find in 2017.

Now that we’re well and truly in 2019, I was able to do the same for all of 2018’s events.*

The short version…

The good news: the divide has improved! 😃

The bad news: it’s only slight. 😫

Below I’ll explain how the analysis was carried out and what was involved…

The data

Similar to last time, I looked at 100 events run by 27 different meetup organisations during 2018. Topics were varied, ranging from software development, IoT (the Internet of Things) and cyber security, all the way to tech startups, SEO and UX.

The result: out of the 191 speakers who spoke at those events last year, only 35 were women, compared to 156 male speakers. That’s 18% vs. 82%.

This is an improvement compared to 2017, which saw a ratio of 16% and 84%, but… it’s not much of an improvement, admittedly.

A few notes & takeaways

  • Interestingly, while I was able to look at more meetup organisations, (27, compared to 22 in 2017), given that new ones have appeared in 2018, there were fewer events overall during the year (100, compared to 136 in 2017). At purely an anecdotal glance, it looks as though some of the really active events pre-2018 took a break or simply ran fewer events during 2018, which could be partly behind the reason why. Another additional interesting point: despite fewer events, there were more speakers overall (191 at 100 events, compared to 173 at 136 events in 2017).
  • Last year I wasn’t able to deduce if any of the speakers were non-binary, however this time I know of at least 2: one spoke at Cardiff SEO Meet (an event that I run, so I know them personally); the other was mentioned to be non-binary in the event’s description. If we compare women and non-binary against men then the ratio improves again slightly: 19% vs. 81%, respectively.
  • And like last time:
    • There’s a heavy reliance on meetups that use Eventbrite and Meetup.com (which, thankfully, is most), as the data of each event is archived – meaning that I can go back and look at who the speakers were. Meetups that don’t use Meetup/Eventbrite and/or don’t have their own website may not have been included unfortunately. Regardless, I think there’s a pretty decent sample size for the analysis even if this is the case.
    • Conferences haven’t been included (in my experience they usually only use their own websites – rather than Meetup/Eventbrite – and some don’t retain the info of their past events).
    • I can only go by what the event page says – so it might be the case that the events went ahead with different speakers in the end, say if there were last-minute changes or cancellations.
    • If a company’s name was used in place of an individual (e.g. “We have someone from [company] coming to speak to us…”) then it wasn’t counted, as I can’t be sure if a man or woman would’ve spoken at the event in the end.

Where do we go from here?

Well, the divide has improved, so there’s that – I mean it would’ve sucked if a year later and the divide was the same or had gotten worse… But there’s still a ways to go.

If any South Wales-based event organisers are reading this and you’re struggling to find women speakers for your events, try this list of 35+ South Wales-based women speakers who work in tech/digital.

* Final point: I’m sorry and embarrassed at how long it has taken me to publish this. It could’ve gone live as early as January, but with family commitments, billable client work, running events and self-publishing my first book, I was too busy to do the analysis and write this post sooner (which, it turns out, didn’t actually take that long to do after all). I’ll try and get 2019’s analysis done a little quicker. See you then.

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