This petition has been around for about 5 years now, but it’s been making the rounds on social media lately. Some recent discussion of this issue and related ones in phonology can be found in these posts to Phonolist.
“If you are an academic in favor of a more equitable representation of women at scholarly conferences across the world, join us in signing this Commitment:
Commitment to gender equity at scholarly conferences
Across the disciplines, disproportionately more men than women participate in scholarly conferences – as keynote or plenary speakers, as symposiasts, or as panelists. This, we believe, is the outcome of widespread and generally unintended bias. It is unfair, it hinders advancement in scholarship, and it is especially discouraging to junior scholars. Overcoming such bias involves not just awareness but positive action.
We therefore undertake to make our participation in conferences – whether as an organizer, sponsor, or invited speaker – conditional on the invitation of women and men speakers in a fair and balanced manner.”