Men Say No, Thanks

Scandinavian Men Say No, Thanks to All-male Panels
Even in Scandinavia, well known for its large female political representation, public debate is dominated by men. Business conferences with a 100 percent male speaker lineup are not rare. Some of these men are tired of debating only men, and are taking action to change it.

In Sweden and Norway, male speakers are now refusing to participate in conferences and panel discussions without female representation.

The idea is that men, when they are invited to speak at a conference or participate in a debate panel, will ask whether women are represented on the programme. If not, they will turn the invitation down say no, thanks.

In Sweden the campaign, with the hashtag #tackanej, was launched in November 2013 by three men, supported by the organization Equalisters. It has attracted more than 250 signatures, ranging from established media personalities to university professors and successful entrepreneurs.

– It’s time for us men to stand back, realizing how increased equality benefits not only justice, but actual competitive advantage for companies and organisations, says Fredrik Wass, co-founder of #TackaNej in Sweden.

– There is a lot of talk about gender equality, but we decided to do something about it. These kind of initiatives can make organizers find the best and most competent persons to put on stage, Fredrik Wass continues.

In Norway the campaign, with the hashtag #TakkNei, has launched. The Norwegian list of signatories is currently growing, so far ranging from lawyers, CEOs to writers and politicians.

70-80 percent of all the experts in media today are men, and if we continue to organize all- male panels and jurys we keep reproducing the image of an expert as a man. Saying no to all-male panels is an easy way to let more people contribute to a concrete change.

The Norwegian initiator Benja Stig Fagerland, Founder and CEO of Women Sp3akers, sees the Say No campaign as part of a new, international wave of feminism that is driven by social media.

– All over the world, we see strong, digital networks that are challenging stereotypes and renewing the debate on gender, says Fagerland.

– Our goal is to turn Say No, Thanks into a Say Yes, Please. Yes to more female speakers and more diversity in debates and conferences.

For more information, please contact,

The Founders of #TackaNej in Sweden:
Thomas Frostberg, senior business columnist at Sydsvenskan, @thomasfrostberg, +46 706 30 37 11

Fredrik Wass, market researcher, journalist and tech blogger, @bisonblog, +46 707 92 30 70

Marcin de Kaminski, internet researcher at Lund university, @dekaminski, +46 768 04 51 51

Swedish webpage:

Supported by Equalisters:
Frida Mörtsell, project manager/community manager 0703977257

#TakkNei in Norway:
Benja Stig Fagerland, Founder, + 47 90955620
Ingvill Bryn Rambøl, Head of Publishing, , +47 92452944
Home page:
Campaign page: