Speak whenever you can - it's important for others to see you up there.

And it affects us all. I’m a news junkie and huge fan of radio and have listened to the iconic Today Programme on Radio 4 for as long as I can remember. I can still recall being shocked the first time it was an all-female line up (in 2013). I wasn’t alone as it even made the press!  I don’t ever recall being surprised by an all-male line up.

This may seem like a small thing but it’s important. It’s important because diversity of all kinds creates debate, it educates by sharing different viewpoints so it’s great for business and it makes the audience feel more thoroughly represented and connected. It’s certainly not about having a “token” woman for the sake of it.

It’s also important because it creates role-models - if you see people like you speaking then you can imagine doing it yourself and so there is a positive cycle. And this is crucial because, again and again, you will hear that the reason there aren’t more women on panels is because they don’t put themselves forward. Maybe because they don’t see themselves as potential panellists, speakers or chairs because they're not used to seeing people like them in these roles?

Most people suffer from glossophobia to some degree and that’s fair enough - there are lots of reasons to want to avoid speaking in public. From wondering if your microphone is switched on, to concerns about complicated questions or simply just finding the time, there are multiple reasons to stop you standing there in the first place.


But if it's something you have the opportunity to do, whatever your gender, I encourage you to do so.