As you know I am not a proponent of affirmative actions to get more women on board (yes, I mean this in the word’s widest meaning). Quite on the contrary. But when asked what I propose as solution to the sorry situation I have been lost for words. Because in order to achieve a change it is privileged class that has to initiate it, and why would anyone voluntarily give up power and influence? So maybe affirmative action was the only way forward?
And then, lo and behold, a miracle happened – someone alerted (Thank you, Megan Browne!) me to this campaign: Men say No, Thanks. The campaign has been going since November 2013 and has this far attracted 200 signatures in Sweden only. According to the Tacka nej-website:
The idea is that men, when they are invited to speak at a conference or participate in a debate panel, will ask whether women are represented on the programme. If not, they will turn the invitation down say no, thanks.
– There is a lot of talk about gender equality, but we decided to do something about it. This kind of initiatives can make organizers to really find the best and most competent persons to put on stage, Fredrik Wass co-founder of #TackaNej in Sweden.
In particular I like the approach that it is competence, not sex, that is the important and deciding factor.
Our goal is to turn Say No, Thanks into a Say Yes, Please yes to more female speakers and more diversity in debates and conferences.
A sentiment I fully support, change through Yes is better and achieves far far-reaching results.
Now, whom will take this up elsewhere? I sincerely hope it will not remain a regional two-country initiative.