Hayley is a Ghost

female representation. Where the hell is it?

Posted on: May 8, 2010

Last year I spoke at the ‘Weird ’09 paranormal & ufo conference’ in Warminster, Wiltshire. I was the only female speaker and rather than making me feel powerful it made me feel a bit lonely and outnumbered.

This year the Weird ’10 conference has possibly 1 female speaker (representing ASSAP) and reflecting upon this fact recently made me wonder why it is. Paranormal research is a research field full of females and males – so why is it only a few women are ever seen speaking at conferences and why do we never see a predominantly female line up at such conferences?

I know that Kylie Sturgess touched upon this issue on her blog here.

I think that the issue of gender equality is an important one that is vastly overlooked. Okay so paranormal research doesn’t have feminism high on its equality focus list – instead they focus more on skeptics vs. believers equality which is fine, but where that’s important to have in equal amounts it is also important to ensure gender of speakers is equal or at least nearly equal too.

Like I mentioned before ghost research is a mixed bag of females and males, UFOlogy and cryptozoology can seem like a bit of a boy’s game (even though there are female researchers out there) so there is, in my view, no excuse for females to be lacking on the speaker line-ups for paranormal/ufo/crypto conferences.

One suggestion put forward to me is that these sorts of conferences are usually organised by men and therefor the speakers are men and that’s a poor excuse.

Another was that those females with something worth saying in the research field either:

a) don’t want the fame/bright lights

b) are too busy

Which is probably true and is a shame when you consider that the resentment of going public with something to say is causing the field to have a lack of female representation. Which is bullshit.


6 Responses to "female representation. Where the hell is it?"

Kylie writes frequently on the gender dynamics in the skeptical community. If you want more on the topic, meander around her site. I’m thinking specifically of this post: http://podblack.com/2009/11/the-problem-of-the-oblivious-white-male-skeptic-a-response-to-pharyngula-and-skeptifem/

We did an episode on it last year: http://skepticallyspeaking.com/episodes/19-gender-the-skeptical-community

We plan to revisit the topic annually, or until it’s not an issue anymore. 😉

Thank you for sharing those, I will deffo have a look.
I was really fed up with the excuses people made when I put the question to them.

“People prefer hearing men talk” “Women have a family to raise and a home to run” (!) “men are big fish in little pools”


Glad to see someone so young and bright addressing this issue!!

In my opinion, you can’t wait for people to invite you in. You have to volunteer to help/present , and be rather persistent in doing so.

Enjoyed your posts!

Thanks 😀

My experience with paranormal conferences is that if you put yourself forwards, unless you’re a well known name, you don’t get accepted.

Hi Hayley,
I had a real struggle with this with Weird and I am entirely open (you know me anyway) to a equal mix of speakers for the weird conferences. And I do believe you are right concerning ASSAP.

I’m planning the speaker lists for Weird in 2011 and have 15-18 speaker slots to fill for next year. I make frequent requests for speakers both on the website and on emails/forums, but sadly, to date, all the responses have been from men.

Weird also does try to bring in lesser known names to the conference, but it is hard to judge sometimes. I don’t think W10 has achieved that goal this year to the level I would like.

I would love to break the mould and have an equal representation at Weird in 2011 and include those who are not so well known. If someone can help me and nominate a few speakers I would be more than happy to approach them and invite them to the conferences next year.

All the best,

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Hayley is a ghost

Hayley Stevens is an advocate for science-based research into seemingly paranormal experiences and occurrences. With a background in the pseudo-scientific research into ghosts, Hayley offers a unique insight into the strange world of ghost hunting through her experience.

She describes herself as 'a ghost hunter who doesn't hunt for ghosts' and this is her personal blog where she writes about ghosts, people, and other interesting things. Read more here.

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