The prominence of all-male panels was recently in the spotlight after one of Denver ComicCon’s panel discussions.
Male-dominated panels are indicative of how academia, business, and politics have historically been boys’ clubs. We need more women on these panels for the same reason we need them in politics: Women are more than half the population. It’s time for the conversation to reflect that.
What was unique about the Denver ComicCon panel in particular? The topic was women in comics, yet ironically, not a single woman appeared on stage.
The incident sparked backlash from more than just the comic community and highlighted the issue that women’s voices are consistently left out of the discussion—even when the discussion is about women.
This month in Congress, the majority of the House Judiciary subcommittee voted in favor of an amendment to expand the bill to ban 20-week abortions nationwide. The subcommittee was exclusively male.
Some companies and individuals have taken it upon themselves to correct the situation. For example, the BBC introduced quotas to ensure gender diversity in comedy panel shows. Some men have also given up their own panel seats to women when invited to speak.
Denver ComicCon presented just one of countless men-only discussions and panels. There’s even a Tumblr blog called “Congrats, you have a male panel!” that is dedicated to pointing out the gender imbalance in panels at seminars, events and more.
Because many are accustomed to seeing only men on stage, the lack of gender diversity in panels often goes unnoticed. Women have the ability to provide an entirely different perspective than men, and that perspective should be represented not only on panels but in politics as well.