What is the Fair List?
There are many kinds of excellence in ELT. Some of these are rewarded. For innovation in ELT, for example, we have the ELTons. For those who write good books we have the Ben Warren Trust, the English Speaking Union and the Extensive Reading Foundation awards. The Fair List, UK celebrates excellence of a different kind; the achievement of gender balance in plenary speakers, presenters or speaker panels at ELT events, annually, in the UK.
The group supporting the award believes that good gender balance in main speakers at UK ELT events will ensure wide coverage of relevant topics and a more balanced perspective on the issues affecting both women and men in their professional lives. It will also help to reflect the composition of the profession.
What have we done so far?
The Fair List came into existence in 2013. In that year, we had our first awards ceremony at the IATEFL conference in Liverpool, our web site was launched at www.thefairlist.org and we had loads of very supportive messages with people passing on the news that we exist on the various lists and networks that they belong to. On the web site, recent actions are listed under the ‘Events’ section, names of new supporters are added in the ‘Get involved’ part, photos are added to the ‘Gallery’ and, on the ‘Blog’ page of the web site, a new post goes up several times a year on issues, organisations, books and events related to women and public speaking. There are lots of free downloadable resources too.
I approached a few supportive enterprises for sponsorship and we have had for projects such as a webinar given by Susan Barduhn and Simon Greenall on ‘Preparing for your first keynote talk or plenary.’ You can get access to this webinar via the web site. The list wants to support the next generation of women public speakers at UK ELT events too. So we have set up a mentoring programme for women, first time, UK ELT plenary speakers. The mentors are women and men of course and you can read about them on the mentoring pages on the web site.
At the IATEFL conference, in Birmingham
We have just had our 4th annual awards event. It was held at the IATEFL Conference in Birmingham, UK on April 14th2016. Thanks to all our supporters, we had billing in the IATEFL conference programme, balloons, streamers and bunting galore, and drinks and nibbles. It was a cheerful occasion as you can see from the photo!
What happened at the event?
I kicked it off with a welcome and a very brief history of the list. In our first awards event, held in 2013, only 5 organisations made it onto the list for putting on EFL events in the UK, in the year before, with good gender balance of plenary/keynote speakers or panellists. In 2014 the number rose to 10 organisers. In 2015 the number was 15. And very happily, in 2015, awarded this year, the number had risen to 22. If things keep going this way, the list will soon not be needed and we can disband, the balance problem having been solved!!
I briefly explained the mentoring initiative and welcomed the mentors at the event. We had a brief discussion as to how we can next attract a few mentees, now that we have a strong pool of mentors.
The playful certificates were given out next to the organisers on the list for events in 2015. (Please see the list below) We clapped and cheered and took a few photos, bunting was raised and festooned at various points onto festive participants!
The awareness-raising activity this year was a true/false questionnaire which will eventually become available along with the other earlier activities which are already on our web site.
People discussed the answers in pairs and groups while availing themselves of the drinks and nibbles. The answers were then given out and there was general networking and discussion until, mindful of the over-worked centre staff, we had to gently persuade people to vacate the room and adjourn to a local restaurant. It was a good occasion!
The Fair List
Those on The Fair List, UK awards list for events held in 2015 were:
English UK for their Teachers’ Conference
English Teaching professional for ‘ETp Live’ conference
IATEFL for their web conference
IATEFL for their Manchester conference
International House for their DOS conference
Canterbury Christ Church University for their ‘Cutting Edge’ conference
MATSDA/University of Limerick for their ‘Creating Motivation with L2 Materials’ conference
University of St Andrews for their EAP conference
IATEFL Associates for their Associates’ Day at Manchester conference
IATEFL ESP SIG and BALEAP for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL Business English Special Interest Group for their online weekend workshops
IATEFL Business English/TEA SIG for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL Leadership and Management SIG for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL Learning Technologies Special Interest Group for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL Learner Autonomy Special Interest Group for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL LMCS SIG for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL Pronunciation SIG for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL Research SIG for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL Young Learners and Teenagers Special Interest Group for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL Materials Writing Special Interest Group for their pre-conference event at Manchester
IATEFL for their webinar series
IATEFL ‘How to…sessions’ held in 2013, 2014, and 2015!