I’m not a dick. I’m not a pussy either. So when I saw The Globe and Mail’s Globe Talks event, Invest Like a Legend manel, I did something. I spoke up.

OK, I spoke up after Gail Vaz-Oxlade beat me to it. Bit$h is fast.

Not. A. One?

WTF? (Where’s The Females?)

Since I know a few financial females, I was quick to highlight their awesomeness. Maybe The Globe asked them to the panel party, and they declined?

Then again, maybe not.

Seems many women were not invited to be on The Globe’s investing panel. Despite The Globe’s inability to “find” a lady investing expert, both my Twitter feed and my inbox exploded with prospective panelists. So I made a binder — a binder full of financial women.

Women added their names to my binder. Women added other women’s names too. Plus more names. I couldn’t keep up! The list continues to grow, BTW.

Turns out there are many women who know about investing, and many of them have the experience and credentials required to speak on this panel.

Sure, event organizers rang me up and apologized for not “finding” a gal. But the damage was done. The event advertisement ran with a panel full of men.

manels

Canada’s #1 national newspaper (their words) would have you believe their popularity reflects the “unwavering loyalty and engagement of our readers and our continual investment in quality content with broad appeal.”

Broad appeal? Since when does an all male panel appeal to broads? And if you’re truly Canada’s national newspaper then shouldn’t your events represent, well, the nation?

A wee problem with manels

There’s nothing new about all male panels. The Tumblr Congrats, you have an all male panel! is dedicated to documenting events featuring all male experts across many disciplines, including: politics, business, finance, health, technology, arts, and science.

The message is blunt. When you have only men on a panel, it says that women’s perspectives are neither important nor relevant. Women don’t have a voice.

It also says there are no women qualified to speak. The article All-male panels face backlash speaks strongly on this issue.

The Globe Talks Invest Like a Legend panel is particularly obnoxious though. The subtext reads: men are legends, men are investing experts, only men can talk about money with authority.

Then there’s the issue of a lack of female role models.

Women as role models

I have a computer science background, a field where I’ve experienced a lack of gender diversity. OK, a HUGE BIG lack of gender diversity. Seeing other gals in a field, speaking as an expert in that field, and representing that field can make a huge difference in bringing more gals into those areas lacking in diversity. Like, you know, many business and technology sectors.

I learned first hand the importance of female role models back in 1995 when I helped found a technology summer camp at Carleton University called Virtual Ventures. The first year the camp ran the participants were mostly male. In the second year we figured out the problem — we needed to send female staff, along with the male staff, to the schools to promote the camp and hopefully recruit more girls.

By the third year our team had gender parity and we visited elementary and secondary schools with equal time dedicated to female and male staff speaking to students about the coolness of computer science and engineering. The results were astounding. Our registration reflected our staff and we had equal participation of boys and girls.

A decade later I caught up with a few former campers. Four gals returned as camp volunteers, and then later enrolled in Carleton University’s computer science and engineering bachelor degree programs. Amazing.

Women and money and “buying power”

Invest Like a Legend should have been a fantastic panel featuring a few women. Women and girls account for 50.4% of the total population, “a slim female majority that has held for over three decades”, so there are plenty of possible attendees to draw from. So much for buying power?

Given that women live longer than men and earn 87¢ to men’s $1 — a gender pay gap of painful proportions — girls, gals, ladies, and women would benefit from solid investing skills to help mitigate this time and pay gap.

So where am I going with this?

I bought a $120 ticket to see The Globe’s Invest Like a Legend panel. While I’m not looking for legendary advice on investing, I am going to the event to participate, to encourage women to attend, and to listen.

I’ve spoken out. The Globe and Mail should listen.

Love love love,
Kerry

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