We sent out the draft Mythcon schedule to program participants Friday and are waiting for replies. That's mostly paper presenters, but there are also panels. Over the last three days, since I drafted the schedule, I've gone from pleased with our work to totally sick and weary of the whole business, down to fairly satisfied again, especially as responses roll in and the tentative panelists say yea. We're down to only one uncertainty at the moment.
So I might as well say something about gender staffing. At SF cons it's considered desirable now to have panels within one person of evenly gender-balanced. Here at the Mythopoeic Society, we run a small con and don't always have the advantage of enough qualified people for any given topic to follow that principle. So I pursue gender balance in a different way.
Here's the stats for the five panels I recruited the personnel for:
1. moderator woman, panelists 4 women
2. moderator man, panelists 5 women
3. moderator man, panelists 3 women
4. moderator woman, panelists 2 men, 2 women
5. moderator man, panelists 3 men
And here are the four that were offered to me as packages:
6. moderator man, panelists 3 women, 1 man
7. moderator man, panelists 1 man, 1 woman
8. moderator woman, panelists 2 men
9. moderator man, panelists 4 men, 1 woman
#2 is something of a coincidence (for one thing the one man is the moderator because the woman I originally thought of is moderating another panel - he's well-qualified for the job, though), but #1 and #3 were deliberately cast this way. In #3, our male GoH will be quizzing experts on each of the three major Inklings on their areas of expertise. The idea of having three women represent the Inklings pleases me no end. #1 is a panel on the challenges of doing research, on Tolkien in particular, and will be illustrated by a particular topic of research, women and his work. Therefore the casting. I've titled the panel Are there any women here today?, a line from Life of Brian.
Another panel, on Tolkien and WW1, incorporating discussion of the recent bio-pic, I've also given a whimsical title: All This and World War One, a reference that so far, nobody has got.