Are you going to attend, speak at or participate in an ELT event in the UK this year or next? If so, then this news item might interest you!
At the IATEFL international conference held in Liverpool, UK in April 2013, there was a rather special gathering one evening! About twenty people got together to praise people who had made it onto a list. Playful certificates were given out and there was a lot of clapping and photos were taken. Thus The Fair List, UK was launched. Then again at the IATEFL international conference, this time in 2014 in Harrogate there was a second such celebration. So what is this list about?
There are many kinds of excellence in ELT. Some of these are rewarded. For innovation in ELT, for example, we have the ELTons. For those who write good books we have, the Ben Warren Trust, the English Speaking Union and the Extensive Reading Foundation awards. The Fair List celebrates excellence of a different kind; the achievement of gender balance in plenary speakers, presenters or speaker panels at ELT events, annually, in the UK. (Please see www.thefairlist.org)
Making it onto The Fair List for 2012 were:
- The IATEFL Research Special Interest Group (SIG) for overall balance in separate events.
- THE IATEFL Business SIG for their Glasgow pre-conference event.
- THE IATEFL Leadership and Management SIG for their Glasgow pre-conference event and for their Brighton event held jointly with The IATEFL Teacher Development SIG
- THE IATEFL Testing, Evaluation and Assessment SIG also for their Glasgow pre-conference event.
So, as you can see, the world of IATEFL Special Interest Groups was well-represented. Stars of the show, however, were: The British Council for their UK seminar series which achieved almost exact parity between women and men speakers over a very busy year of events.
After celebrating those on the list for 2012, we stayed on for a discussion of why The Fair List matters, what we can do to encourage women to contribute more fully at plenary level and what we can do to encourage selectors to consider the gender balance of their own events. (Please see the IATEFL Liverpool online website under ‘Interviews’ for a chat with Tessa Woodward about the list.)
The Fair List, UK is, as its name implies, about UK events only at the moment. The person who launched it is UK born and bred. But if you are a native of another country and would like to borrow or adapt the idea, then do get in touch!
A meeting was also held at the conference between The Fair List and the Disabled Access Friendly Campaign to see how we can learn from and support each other.
Now that it is launched, The Fair List has lots of ideas for the future:
- A website is being developed. This will be a resource for different sets of people; those planning ELT events in the UK and wanting to consider how they can increase the number of women’s voices heard at the event, presenters who want to feel more confident and to use their leverage to get more women’s voices heard at the event, and participants who would like a good gender balance of speakers at a UK EFL event. There will also be background resources for those interested in testing their own lack of bias and in reading around on related issues.
- Meetings are planned between organizations involved in similar, parallel or sympathetic concerns in order to form a broad coalition and aid the discussion.
- Articles and posts such as this one are being written to let people know about this initiative.
If you would like to support The Fair List and read more current news about it, please visit www.thefairlist.org