A couple of years ago, as a team, iNetwork committed to aiming for 50:50 gender balance at our annual conference. The closest we came to meeting this target was in 2017 when 48% of the expert speakers were women. The agenda is still being finalised, we are waiting to confirm speakers for the final two sessions, but for the first time we will have more female than male speakers.

We have not deliberately set out to recruit women over men. As a team, we thought that positive discrimination would not be fair, and it would not make for a great agenda. We are driven by the agenda topic first and foremost. However, the change in gender balance can in part be attributed to a number of changes that we’ve made in the iNetwork programme. iNetwork is now actively supporting women’s career development as part of the Transforming and Innovating Public Services programme, led by the talented Catherine O’Neill. By supporting women’s development courses such as Springboard, we are championing women to confidently apply themselves in areas that they may otherwise not. This has had the side effect of increasing our own network of women leaders, which in turn has led to a a more gender balanced pool of experts for us to invite to share expertise at iNetwork events.

The expert speakers that make up our 65% include:

You can find details of all the expert speakers on the conference website. We have a few places left at the conference; don’t miss out, book your place now!