Every year, many of us are asked to sit on panels at seminars and other events that attract large and influential audiences. Too often, these panels lack representation of women and greater ethnic diversity.

Panel PledgeDemand diversity on panels

There are two primary reasons for demanding more women and greater ethnic diversity on panels.

1. It is the right thing to do.

There are many qualified women in New Zealand who are experts in their fields, and who, by gender alone, represent half of the New Zealand population – a population that invests, consumes and makes critical decisions every day. We also live in one of the most ethnically diverse societies in the world. When we put people on pedestals and showcase their expertise, we should be ensuring we represent a broad range of views from the society in which we live.

2. Diversity on panels makes for more interesting discussions.

Different ideas spur new thinking, connections and innovation.

 Read more about Panel Pledge

The Pledge

Champions for Change have created the Panel Pledge as a means to address and highlight any lack of diversity when asked to speak. The Pledge consists of three main parts:

1. Set expectations up front when asked to speak

  • Who are the other speakers and participants?
  • How will diverse perspectives be attained? For example, why were the panellists selected and how was diversity considered in the planning of this event?

2. Highlight gender and ethnic imbalance

  • Is there fair gender representation on the panel?
  • How has the panel selection team made significant effort to obtain diverse ethnic representation on the panel?

3. Actively encourage diverse voices

  • How will you ensure women and ethnically diverse speakers will participate in a meaningful way?


The pledge has been designed to to be used by Champions themselves, or others within their organisation. You can download and issue the Pledge when invited to speaking opportunities.


Download the Champion Panel Pledge Download the Champion Organisation Panel Pledge

Arrows PatternWhy take the Pledge?

Diverse panels are more interesting

It’s easy to understand that diversity of thought from panellists makes for a better, more interesting and informative discussion. Those from different backgrounds can offer unique perspectives, so the audience is more likely to gain insights and deeper understanding of the topics covered. Panellists that represent a wider population group are more likely to accurately reflect public views on a topic.

Diverse views better reflect our society

Fairness is the Kiwi way, with hundreds of ethnicities co-existing (particularly in Auckland), it is the inclusive thing to do to give people a fair go and the opportunity to be heard. It is also an approach that fosters a more accurate reflection of input from our complete society, rather than one dominant perspective.

Your ability to influence matters

Champions for Change commit to standing up for more inclusive panels and pressing for change. As business leaders, Champions pledge to inquire about efforts to ensure women and ethnic minority groups are considered and represented whenever they are invited to be involved in, or sponsor, a conference or panel.

Opportunity to maximise impact

There is the opportunity to maximise the impact of diverse representation on speaking panels in our country. Inform your team so they can support you in your commitment. Extend the pledge to your own organisation to ensure all forums your organisation runs or sponsors take gender balance and diversity into account.