Two weeks ago I observed that the New Yorker Conference about “new ideas, forward thinking and eye-opening innovation” slated only 3 women of 24 invited panelists to participate. I don’t think this fairly represents the work women are doing in the field, so I sent a link to the post I wrote to their press office representative Sonya McNair. I received radio silence in return. Deciding that I probably wasn’t going to hear from McNair via email, I left a message on her machine telling her that I hoped to discuss the matter further with her, as an equal representation of women at such conferences remains very important to those working within creative fields. Later the next day McNair left the following message for me.
Hello Paddy, This is Sonya McNair With the New Yorker Press Office
Thank you for your call and certainly for your interest and while we appreciate and share your enthusiasm as this really is an important subject, we do not discuss our editorial decision making process. So I certainly appreciate and share your enthusiasm as we find it very important to us as well. So I thank you again and have a great day.
Let me make this much clear: I don’t appreciate having my words misrepresented. Enthusiasm implies that I am excited about the fact that the conference lacks women panelists, and I’m not. What’s more, why should I believe that “this important subject” has any weight to the New Yorker, when the response I’ve been given indicates the opposite. Since the time of my writing about this conference, 9 male panelists have been added to their website list, and no women. It’s time we started calling people out on this. A List of Women for Your Conference exists. It’s time the New Yorker started using it.
Related: The Tokion Conference 2006: 40 male participants, 5 female participants