The #Manel Manifesto

Manel: A panel made up entirely of men, usually white dudes.

See mansplaining for additional details. 

It happens in every industry more than I can recount.

Edited for size but the email address on the bottom of this one really got me… 

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Or this. When you get to a conference and all the speakers are dudes.


Hasselhoff added for effect. Thanks for that @ManelWatchUS

But even though more than half of the people who work in HR and recruiting are women, there are still panels at HR conferences with only dudes. Mostly white dudes.

Not saying the dudes aren’t smart, but perspective matters. I want to hear how all kinds of people experience and think about all kinds of things. Not just your man friends.

As a woman, I sit down in the audience and sigh. Roll my eyes at the website lineups. We’ve heard what these people think. I want to hear from everyone else now.

Shout out to Brianna Blaney for just saying it.

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Will they respond? Maybe #somedaily.

Will they change their lineup? Doubtful.

It’s not a knock against them. It shows there’s no accountability in our industry. People still show up for these manels, pay their fees, then nod and smile as they tweet away. We don’t stop clicking, or showing up.

Brianna isn’t the only person who sees a serious problem with manels. I know we all notice it. I know our eyes are tired from rolling them so hard. But when are we going to stand up and say enough is enough?

It’s not just the manels, though. It’s the expectation that when we (a collective we –  women, people of color, queer people, etc) say yes, we’ll do it for free. Or that we’ll be the token.

First of all. Not paying is a disservice to equality for all.

Short answer: it’s bullshit.

They want to make money. And don’t give me that line about how it’s hard to make money on events.  If you want people to work so you can make money on events, they should be compensated. Period.

Second, when you look around a room and realize you’re the only _____, things feel different.

You can fill in the blank however you want. Woman. Man. Person of color. L, G, B,T, Q, I, or A . We’ve all been there. You take that quick look around and think, “huh. I’m the only one.”

Then the fear sets in. You’re questioning what you’re even doing there.

“When you’re the only one, you’re so focused on being the only one that you can’t focus on being your full force.” – Kat Cole via Jazmine Wilkes at #WorkHuman

I’m tired.

And I’m most definitely not the only one.


Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for,, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’ll always listen when you speak… and to Nicole’s comment, there are so many thought leaders who are women; it’s abject laziness combined with a whopping dollop of thoughtlessness that precludes inclusion at conferences. And foolish too.

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