A diverse stage is crucial in today’s world. Thankfully modern audiences have come to expect it. A platform that promotes diversity is a platform that celebrates the epic nature of humanity. 

Recognising that diversity matters means accepting that each individual is uniquely different. It is understanding that these differences make each of us exceptional regardless of gender, culture, race, and natural environment. 

“Gender diversity on stage at conferences and events is still an issue. Nearly two-thirds of all speakers globally are still men.

Why do we care, aside from the inherent fairness of it all and the fact that events are better when they are diverse and inclusive? We care because women and other underrepresented groups need access to the stage to advance their careers and their businesses. When this happens, world economies grow, and we all benefit.”

How to drive diversity and inclusion at conferences and events,
Bobby Carlton, Forbes Business Council

Ultimately, the audience and the event stand to benefit from a diverse lineup of speakers. The multiple impressions and multifarious experiences a diverse range of speakers bring to the table inspire audiences. They are left with not just a one-dimensional view of a topic or cause but with multi-faceted and hard-hitting insights.

“Diversity on stage increases group intelligence. When introducing diverse thoughts, we appeal to the different sections of the audience.”  -Mette Johansson, KeyNote Women Founder.

The many ways diversity can be represented on stages

A diverse stage should showcase representatives from all communities and all areas of society. Through time, Keynote speakers, in particular, have been typically straight, white males. And that needs to change. Ideally, event organisers should choose speakers based on their experience, education, and qualifications. We need to be more inclusive of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or religious background. 

“A great question to ask yourself when looking at a list of potential speakers or panel is, “Do the individuals at the forefront or on stage reflect the broader community?” As well, if you have an array of speakers, they should contrast one another. It’s important that the stories and information your audience will hear reflect those from different backgrounds and communities.”

Talk Diversity to Me: How the event industry can do better,
Amanda Ma, BizBash

What are the different perspectives the male and the female speakers bring to a stage?

Focusing on gender diversity, female speakers often speak from the heart, emoting exceptionally through the supercharged articulation of their points. Similarly, powerful male speakers can bring vigour, confidence, and passion to their keynote speeches.

According to Mette Johansson, the Founder of MetaMind and KeyNote Women, the female speaker is often focused on making a difference and being a part of a change; women typically focus on a purpose-driven message to enrich the lives of the audience. More often than with female speakers, male speakers enjoy being in the limelight on stage and imprinting their views on the audience with a powerful speech. Metta shares that it is not uncommon to hear some women say they are reluctant public speakers.

There are also definite differences between male and female speakers. Being a speaker herself and having worked with many speakers over the years, Mette agrees. She notes that the average female speaker goes on stage because she wants the world to be better. At the same time, the average male speaker tends to think about selling and representing the business better—both very different but equally essential styles.

“Female speakers are generally characterised by the words ‘compassion’ and ‘nurture’, and this is reflected in their speeches as well. The male speakers identify with the words ‘powerful’ and ‘in control’, thus making their speeches more assertive.” – Mette Johansson.

In the true spirit of diversity, we recognize that, of course, there are plenty of compassionate men. Similarly, some women successfully promote their business – and that is good. Suppose society is the stumbling block preventing them from initially embracing qualities and behaviour attributed to the opposite sex. In that case, it is time for a change and time to step out of that boundary. 

How does KeyNote Women Directories promote diversity at events?

Mette highlights her vision of bringing diversity speaking stages through KeyNote. A nonprofit organisation, KeyNote Women, is dedicated to showcasing an impressive list of women speakers from various fields and training them to play to their strengths, whether in industry conferences, in-house events, annual events, or academia. 

Mette concludes, “We want diversity on every single speaking stage whether the topic of the conference is a new venture, finance, blockchain, leadership, or education. We want to make sure that there is a variety of speakers on every stage.”

What can we as individuals and organisations do to help bring about diversity on stages? 

At KeyNote Women, we feel that we can all do our bit to support this vision of diverse speaking stages! 

If you are a conference organiser, make sure your event is well represented. Look us up at if our message resonates with you and feel like your event can use a little more diversity. 

If you are a male speaker, be a supporter and insist on introducing diverse stage – ethnic, ability-based, or gender diversity. 

And if you are a female speaker, you have now found your tribe! We invite you to enrol in the training programs offered at KeyNote Women and enhance your speaking and presenting skills. 

Join us and be a part of a movement that will change our times!


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