I pulled out of Giant Conference because I recently found out a significant number of speakers were being paid, when I had to fight to get my full travel expenses reimbursed. Speakers with whom, I regularly share a stage. I was told when I agreed to speak at Giant in September 2013, that I would have my airfare, hotel and speaker fee taken care of.
The agreement was airfare, hotel plus speaker fee.
In March, every speaker was told that travel would be capped at $500 + $500 for hotel stay. It would then cost me money to speak at Giant, so I regretfully informed them, I would have to withdraw my offer to speak.
One organiser came back to me and said “You’re taken care of, don’t worry” that they would cover my travel and then a few days later another organiser said they would “still love to have (me) but need to know how much overage (they) are looking at?” – it was at this point I realised budgets must have been squeezed so hard there were no speaker fees, if my economy, international flight was a deal breaker of my attendance.
All of this was being negotiated after all 76 speakers had been posted on the site, selling tickets.
I’ve since found out that many of the speakers were getting paid. I was given the impression that no one was being paid. It was more a case of, if you didn’t ask, it wasn’t freely offered.
My time is no less valuable than anyone else on that roster. That’s why I’ve cancelled speaking at Giant Conference.
People are asking where the sexist line came from, that was jumped upon on Twitter. There are non-workshop giving, non-keynote speaker individuals who were granted speaker fees, who are male – these may be the three that Giant note in their blog post. Some females asked about fees or requested fees, who were told no one was being paid, or denied a fee. There’s nothing to suggest, at this time, that the problem was mutually exclusive to females – that’s just who have come forward.