Why is there a need for a database of women speakers?
There are several reasons we think a database is a good idea. Female speakers are under-represented at Christian events and among the many reasons organisers give a key one is not knowing where to find them. As the database grows we hope this will give event organisers a rich source of talented women to invite to speak.
We also hope the database will be a resource for media outlets looking for interesting female commentators and guests who can speak about Christianity and connected issues.
And, of course, we want to give women of varied backgrounds, experience, and skills to share their knowledge with the wider world. Whether women starting out or with decades of experience, we hope the database will help introduce their gifts to new audiences and benefit the church and faith as a whole.
How do you define Christian?
Put simply, we don’t. Speakers who sign up to the database are asked to tick their denomination (if they belong to one) but we don’t require anyone to sign up to a doctrinal statement. If you are looking for a speaker who holds a specific theology or has a particular interpretation of the Bible, we advise asking them, researching their work, or asking for references. We understand and accept Christians may hold different views of faith and scripture, and by asking speakers to complete a bio, add links, and list previous experience, we hope to let women demonstrate their faith position through their words and work.
How do you verify speakers?
We don’t have a formal process for checking profiles, but we will remove any content that contravenes our data policy, and follow up any issues raised with us. We ask that before inviting a speaker to take part in your event you follow due diligence processes and ensure the speaker matches the criteria you are looking for. We have a number of fields to complete on each profile, which should create an overview of a speaker’s work and experience. If anything appearing on a profile can’t be supported, we ask to be notified of this. Likewise, we ask any communication with speakers is respectful and connected to speaking invitations only, and we ask anything inappropriate or unrelated is reported to us.
Do you endorse speakers?
In short, no. Registering for the database does not qualify as an endorsement from the project or any of our ambassadors. We are not agents or representatives of any speaker, we are not involved in messages between speakers and organisers, and we have no involvement in any arrangements made. We want to create a platform for women’s voices to be heard, and we understand some women will have experience of international platforms and others will be used to speaking to local groups and we welcome that variety. We ask each woman to represent herself honestly and clearly, and we ask organisers to be open minded and gracious in their searching and invitations.
Are there costs to use the database?
The database in its current form was crowdfunded by generous people who believe in the same goal as the project team (thank you to all of you!). Our aim is to make the database a place that runs on respect and honesty, and therefore needing only minimal monitoring from us! The less we have to do to to keep the site running, the lower our costs are and the longer it is likely we can run it as a resource for the purpose of helping women be recognised, invited, and heard. We don’t take any fees from women signing up or from searchers (though we do ask both to register, for safety) and we hope that is a model we can use long term. If you’d like to support the project (for our running costs, any technical needs, etc) and enable it to remain free to use for as long as possible, you can do so here. The project team created the database as a ‘passion project’ and work on it in our own time.