What? EVE stands for Equal Voices in ELT. It is an initiative that was created to recognise both gender and highly proficient speaker * parity in keynote and plenary line-ups* for ELT conferences and events worldwide.
Events can be face-to-face or online. Events with only one plenary speaker can also apply for recognition where parity can be shown over two, three or four consecutive years.
EVE also encourages line-ups which are representative of their local teaching community and support local or national speakers. In order to support this goal, EVE partners with Teachers’ Associations to run Mentoring Programmes for women teachers in underrepresented contexts wishing to become conference speakers.
Why? The time is right. Good progress has already been made towards parity for women and highly proficient L1 / L2 speakers. Now is the time to take a step further and recognise the great strides being made globally.
Who? We are a group of ELT professionals interested in the issue of equality and local representation at conferences and other ELT events.
How? EVE posts a calendar of events whose line-ups fit one of the following criteria: gender parity (even number of plenaries*) or near parity (odd number of plenaries); highly proficient L1 / L2 speaker parity (even) or near parity (odd); balance both of gender and highly proficient speaker L1 / L2 parity (even) or near parity (odd). Organisations are encouraged to contact us with the finalised line-ups for their forthcoming events, if they wish to be considered for inclusion in the calendar. **
Events which achieve the ratios stated above will then be recognised with one of our three EVE badges, which can be displayed on the conference page. There will also be a link to their event page on the EVE Calendar.
The idea was conceived by Fiona Mauchline and Sue Leather in 2017, and EVE was born in early 2018. They are joined in the team by Aleksandra Popovski on our Facebook page and Elaine Chaves Hodgson on our blog. We are also on Twitter and Instagram.
Important note: EVE recognises that parity is sometimes difficult to achieve. For this reason, we do not ‘frown upon’ line-ups where parity has not been achieved, or condone criticism of such line-ups: quality of content is always above demographics. Furthermore, we trust that no teachers association would forego quality for a badge.
However, in most cases, parity is achievable if supported by all involved, and EVEs are awarded in recognition of the support given by the event’s sponsors, as well as the efforts made by an event’s organisers.
Who inspires us? We’ve been inspired by Tessa Woodward and the Fair List , which encourages gender balance in plenaries in the UK, and by Marek Kiczkowiak and TEFL Equity Advocates, which advocates for the rights of proficient L2 speaker teachers in ELT. Also by Silvana Richardson’s 2016 IATEFL plenary. The ‘native factor’, the haves and the have-nots. Last but not least, by the Facebook group Women in ELT, founded by Nicola Prentis, which has just under 1,800 members from all over the world.
*Please see our Definitions page for key terms used by EVE.
**Near-parity where the difference is no more than one, if there is an odd number of plenaries.