The Fair List, UK

Set up in 2013, The Fair List, is an annual award. It celebrates excellence in gender balance of plenary speakers, presenters or speaker panels at UK ELT events.

The group supporting the award believes that good gender balance 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.

Why is The Fair List, UK necessary?

If you have been to a UK ELT event lately, you may have seen lots of women teachers there and presenting workshops too. How about the plenary speakers though? One woman and four men, you say? Hmm!
Coming across that kind of imbalance on a regular basis was the impetus for my starting up The Fair List, UK.

Why is The Fair List, UK important?

Many teachers of EFL/TESOL in the UK are women. It is only fair then that there be many women presenters and plenary speakers at UK ELT events. Women have talents and ideas aplenty so, if we are not hearing their voices during plenary talks at conferences, we are all missing out on varied, interesting ideas.

So what is The Fair List doing about it?

We hold a fun, awards ceremony for organisers who have managed at least a 40:60 ratio of women to men plenary speakers at their event. It’s held each year at the IATEFL conference (So, come and join us in Manchester in April, 2015!).

We also have a web site at:

The web site has resources for different sets of people: for those planning ELT events in the UK and wanting to consider how they can increase the number of women’s voices heard at the event; for presenters who want to feel more confident and to use their leverage to get more women’s voices heard at an event; and for participants who would like a good gender balance of speakers at a UK EFL event. There are also background resources for those interested in related issues. There’s also a blog! We ran a webinar especially for first time plenary, keynote or panel speakers. See the link on the web site or click here to watch.

What are our plans for the future?

Apart from increasing the numbers of event organizers on the list each year, we want to think about the next generation of women speakers at plenary and keynote level. Have we got young women queuing up to speak? I sincerely hope so. But, just in case there is a little shyness or diffidence, we are starting a mentoring initiative. If a woman wants to talk over her ideas about a possible future plenary, she could team up with someone with good plenary experience.

If you would like to support The Fair List, UK, please email:

Thank you!

Tessa Woodward

(Founder of The Fair List, UK)

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