The April edition of the ‘Chalkface’ diary, in E-Learning Age, the UK’s leading magazine for those in the corporate e-learning world, has taken issue with the list of the ‘top ten movers and shakers’ in the e-learning world published on this website in January (see ‘Bob Little’s top ten e-learning movers and shakers’, 8th January 2010). The Chalkface article says: ‘…Even without a calculator Chalkface knows that adds up to 30 people and yet, according to our sources, only one of those named was a woman… It would be perfectly possible to think of dozens of excellent women who are leading the way on the e-learning profession and therefore should be on any proper list of e-learning’s movers and shakers…’
Comment: I always enjoy reading the ‘Chalkface’ section of E-Learning Age – and, again this month, I was delighted to see that my list of e-learning’s movers and shakers is still provoking comment (under the title ‘Girls Allowed’, April 2010).
While E-learning Age is correct in its assumption that no sexism was intended in compiling these lists, I feel that I need to set the factual record straight.
There are three lists – each of e-learning’s top ten movers and shakers in the world, Europe and the UK. Obviously, some of those who make the UK list are also of note within a European context and some of those within Europe are also of significance in world terms. This means that, instead of 30 names, there are only 21. Of these, two are women (Thea Payome, editor of CheckPoint eLearning magazine, and Dr Ladislava Knihova, a university lecturer and e-learning champion within the Czech Republic). To the best of my knowledge and belief, the other 19 are heterosexual men.
While I agree that women would appear to be sparsely represented in these lists, they form some ten per cent of the total number of names – not a mere three per cent which the Chalkface article implied. Even in absolute terms, Chalkface’s figures would appear to be 50 per cent – or is it 100 per cent? – incorrect.
During the judging process, a number of women were considered for the UK list – E-Learning Age’s own columnists Laura Overton and Jane Hart among them. This time, these highly influential and well respected members of the e-learning profession narrowly missed out on making the ‘top ten’. However, there is plenty of time to go before the next list is published – in January 2011 – and there is every reason to expect there to be some movement in the lists. However, of course, the criteria for inclusion are a person’s prominence, eminence and influence within the e-learning industry – not a person’s sex or sexual orientation.