Gina Glantz and GenderAvenger Challenge the Manel

The Ascent Luminaries, made possible by VisitDallas, is part of the PCMA Ascent initiative, which seeks to promote inclusion and diversity across the business events industry.

Seven years ago, Gina Glantz, a veteran political campaign strategist and consultant, was a lecturer at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. When the school’s Institute of Politics announced a lineup of five white male speakers for a prestigious panel, “well,” Glantz said, “that just sent me around the bend.”

It led to Glantz — who is honored this month in PCMA’s Ascent Luminaries video series — cofounding GenderAvenger, a website and app designed to allow users to keep track of the number of females on conference panels and at public events and other spaces, and broadcast the information on social media.

Read more about GenderAvenger’s mission to end manels and connect with Gina Glantz in our Pass the Mic speaker database.

GenderAvenger sends out “action alerts” each week via an email newsletter advising readers and the website publicizes the data that users collect. “GenderAvenger has no ideology,” Glantz said. “None. It’s all about counting. Because when you count what you see, the numbers don’t lie.”

GenderAvenger was founded four years ago and in the last few months, “something extraordinary has begun to happen,” Glantz said earlier this year. Where conference organizers used to react angrily and offer up excuses when GenderAvenger publicized their lack of diversity, more now say, “We screwed up. We’ll do better.”

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