By Northern Lights

Johan’s post on Tystnad (Män, kvinnor och science fiction kongresser) speculates how Paul Cornell’s gender balance initiative might factor into his planning for this year’s Swedish natcon program:

As you who read Silence [Tystnad] either know or will become painfully aware of the next six months is Maria, Daniel, and I [are] is arranging this year’s major Swedish science fiction and fantasykongress, Contrast (swecon 2012). Since I am auditor in charge of the programme, as well as a part of the Committee for Åcon, a lot of my time is devoted to reflect[ing] on suitable [topics] to talk about – and who would be able to talk about them.

Reading the post with the help of, I learned he holds some views in common with the conrunners quoted here the other day. Johan acknowledges that it’s not easy to gender balance a convention’s slate of participants, much less individual panels. However, he is also concerned with avoiding the bias reflected in society at large:

There are several studies which have once again and again have landed in the same results. In a situation in which as many skilled men as competent women are available we are more inclined to choose more men than women in order to keep the public discussions. It is bad.

He also points out the challenge of balancing panels at local cons in Sweden where they may have no more than 20 program participants altogether.

[Again, don’t blame Johan for any infelicities in phrasing, since this has all been translated from the original language by a computer.]