The database of databases is out! There really is no more excuse for MANELS.

On 15 July 2020, The Brussels Binder proudly launched the BBBeyond Interactive Map – a new tool to find even more women experts by tapping into over 50 databases from many EU countries and elsewhere in the world. By making all open, free and searchable databases available in one single online platform, users can now expand their search beyond The Brussels Binder. It widens the scope of choice for users to find the right expert for their next event, consultation or interview.

This is how it works: let’s say you are an event organiser looking for a French speaking expert in the field of climate and energy but you are unable to find the right expert profile in The Brussels Binder database. No problem! The interactive map will automatically recommend other databases for you to browse. In this specific case, the following will be signalled: FEMtech, Expertisa, WMC SheSource, etc.

Watch the video to learn more about the BBBeyond repository!

Similarly, imagine you are looking for a Spanish journalist to moderate your conference on artificial intelligence. By adding these criteria (sector, language, expertise) in the search area, a number of specific databases will be flagged such as GenCat, L’Agenda d’Expertes or Women For Media.

The interactive map can thus be defined as “the first database of women experts databases across the world”, representing an inclusive online repository for all event organisers, journalists and expert committees.

At present, over 57,000 experts can be found among the 50 databases within the repository and 18,000 of these experts are from the 24 databases to be found in Europe. The interactive map also shows 17 databases in the USA and Canada, 5 based in the Middle East and Africa, 3 in Southeast Asia and Australia, as well as 1 in Brazil.

The “database of databases” is also very diverse in terms of sectors represented! There are 13 databases specialising in scientific and technology fields, 1 database for women architects, 5 focusing on the promotion of women’s visibility in the media, as well as 3 databases that are exclusively for women of colour and other underrepresented groups.

The aim of the BBBeyond project is to gradually grow this online repository with even more databases. In a bid to do this, we are also implementing a peer-to-peer programme to support initiatives from EU countries to create and launch a database in their home country. Members of the BBBeyond team have so far worked with initiatives from Ireland, Italy, Spain, Slovenia and Czech Republic.

By bringing women’s expertise and initiatives to amplify their voices together in one platform, we have reached a great milestone in the pursuit of equal gender representation. Now there are definitely no excuses for event organisers and journalists not to have gender-balanced events and news coverage, a good way to start the conferences and events seasons with the best of the intentions!

The next objective is to promote our new tool. Help us by sharing this blog and the online repository with your network and on social media, using the hashtag #WomenExperts4EU and contact if you want to signal a database to be added in  the interactive map. By working together, we can make public debates and policy discussions more equal for our and future generations.

Written by Paola Maniga

Funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020), the Brussels Binder Beyond (BBBeyond) project was launched in 2019 in partnership with The Brussels Binder, Bruegel and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The project aims to build pan-European network of like-minded organisations, think-tanks and women expert databases to foster a solution focused environment for the co-creation of practical tools to promote women’s voices in policy discussions and media.

27 Expert questions to ask before accepting to speak, by Elizabeth Van Den Bergh

You are invited to take part in a panel? Great!


Say yes! You’ll figure it out afterwards.


Every meeting is different.

Before you start preparing ask questions, many questions.


Non-experienced speakers usually don’t ask many questions. Whether you are experienced or not, here is a good list of questions to ask before hitting the stage.


First make sure you know who you are talking to. You might be contacted by the event organisor, the program manager, a session organiser or directly by the moderator. These are all different roles and one person might not have all the answers for you. You should definitely always talk to the moderator beforehand.


Speaker Checklist


Understanding the event

  1. Tell me briefly about your event.
  2. What are their objectives of the meeting/conference/workshop?
  3. Who is organizing and sponsoring it?
  4. Is this a one-day event, a one-hour event, a one-week event?
  5. Who is your audience (seniority, profile, age, ….)?
  6. How much does the audience know about the topic?
  7. How do they feel about the topic?
  8. How many speakers do you have in total?
  9. Who is the moderator?


What do you expect from me?

  1. Why do you think I am a good fit to speak to your audience?
  2. What is the effect you want the talk to have on the audience?
  3. What is the biggest issue that needs to be addressed in the talk?
  4. What kind of questions can I expect in the Q&A?
  5. How long will I speak?
  6. Will I give a short presentation or just a few introductory remarks?
  7. How long should my short bio be?


The other speakers

  1. Who are the other speakers and what is their expertise?
  2. How will I interact with the other speakers on the panel?
  3. Can you share the speaking points of the other speakers upfront?
  4. Will the speakers be invited to react to each others speaking points?


Interacting with the audience

  1. How can I connect with the audience during my talk and afterwards?
  2. Can I offer handouts? Print or digital?
  3. Can I meet and greet the attendees before the event either in the lobby or inside the room when they walk in?


The set-up and technical details

  1. How long is the talk supposed to be?
  2. Tell me about the venue and the stage setup.
  3. What kind of equipment will be provided? Is there are stage technician?
  4. Will this be filmed or recorded?


Once you know everything about the event, the topic and the expectations, it is time to prepare your intervention.



Elizabeth Van Den Bergh

Montis Public Speaking


This article is based on an article from Esther Snippe.