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Changing someone’s opinion often seems like a futile endeavour.

While I’ve been designing websites for years, I only began to get involved in the community and attend conferences just under three years ago. When I first saw folks arguing on Twitter about the low number of women speaking at events, I was pretty quick to pipe up and say something I’ve heard so many others say — that I didn’t care about the gender of the speaker so long as they were qualified.

As time went on, though, I started to question my opinion. What exactly does being “qualified” mean, anyway? Who gets to decide that Designer A is more “qualified” to speak than Designer B, especially if both are considered successful in their field?

Having diversity in your conference lineup does not mean you are sacrificing the quality of the speakers, for I now believe that every hard-working person in this industry can bring something to the table that someone else can learn from.

Open your mind and listen to what others say without immediately dismissing them, no matter how passionate you feel about a topic — you just might find yourself with some changed opinions of your own. Mine certainly changed, and I’m glad it did.

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