“I also have other skills, thank you”

Diversity should also be lived at events: the project speakabled. offers speakers and speakers with disabilities a platform so that they can position themselves and show their own competencies and expertise.

Similar to the model of speakerinnen.org, many experts are to be bundled on a single platform in the medium term. For example, organizers can specifically search for competences to make their stages more versatile.

How did the project come about?

It has been bothering me for some time that people with disabilities are barely visible in public and especially on stage. This has become very clear to me at an event, because this time I had deliberately searched for it.

There was only one session in which a speaker with disabilities was on stage. And this session was about an inclusive topic. Which of course is very important, but also reduces people with disabilities to this area.

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At another session, people without disabilities talked about inclusive topics and thus about people with disabilities, which is even worse.

I did not notice anyone with disabilities who was allowed to talk about their expertise outside the disability.

I wanted to change that and started directly with the Twitter account @speakabled.

20 registered profiles

On the Twitter account, I first collected speakers and speakers with disabilities in a list. But that was not enough for me, and so, according to the model of the speakersinnen.org, the website speakabled.com was created. A friendly boss of a webhosting company has agreed to provide domain and web space and so I could start immediately.

We are still in the beta phase, which means that there are still small things to be adjusted, but the basic framework for the first version is and will not change much.

At the moment, there is also a survey where everyone can help to optimize the platform.

I am particularly pleased that a lot of postivies feedback has been received and the platform has even been used. In the meantime, we have about 20 registered profiles and one organizer of the JS conference has directly requested three speakers.

What are the goals?

I would like to leave the beta phase in December and then make no major changes until further notice.

It would be nice if the positive response remains and sign up significantly more speakers and create a profile, because only with many profiles, the platform can be used meaningfully.

Another goal is, of course, that many organizers follow the example of the JS conference and use the platform to give people with disabilities a stage. This allows the stages in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to be made more versatile.

I find it particularly important that the speakers talk about their expertise and not about their disabilities. Because the topic should be taken out of the filter bubble.

Networking of competence

The primary goal of the platform is to make people with disabilities more visible and to prioritize their respective competences. In addition, there will be the opportunity to publish articles on the subject area.

Thus, in the medium term, a kind of “competence network” is to be created in which not only female speakers but also authors for specialist texts or photographers can be requested and booked.

I can only guess: If you find something unfair or really bother you, do something about it. Not everyone will like it, I’ve noticed that too, but that’s always the side effect of creating something new.

Now I’m curious to see what happens next and I’m very happy about the further development of the platform. By the end of the year, I wish for 50 registered speakers.

Also interesting: how important is diversity in the tech industry?

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