I am interested in nominating my female supervisor to be a speaker in a workshop for women in an international conference, she is quite intelligent, helpful to other female students and that triggered why I cannot nominate her.

Currently, I am a Ph.D. student and I am one of the organizers of the workshops. I have nominated other speakers and writing an invitation email on behalf of our organizers team to the potential speakers.

I am quite afraid as I am still new in my position and maybe she could think that I am licking shoes or being a hypocrite person. I am also thinking that she could consider likely humiliating as her student nominating her.

I have never been in such position like that, but I do think she deserves, but I am afraid that this could be counterproductive in our relationship.

The question is: Is it impolite to nominate my female supervisor to be a speaker in a workshop for women?

  • 3
    Are you wanting to nominate your supervisor or not nominate your supervisor - this is unclear from what you have written.
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 7, 2019 at 19:37
  • @SolarMike, I am interested to have her, but I am afraid to nominate her because of my position as a PhD student.
    – user103209
    Apr 7, 2019 at 19:59
  • @FedericoPoloni, thanks I was about to add the missing details, I edited my question. BTW, I am responsible for sending invitation email on behalf of organizer, but in my case I dont know whether the idea itself could be accepted by a supervisor.
    – user103209
    Apr 7, 2019 at 20:01
  • 2
    I don't understand how "female" is an element here. "Should I nominate my supervisor for X?"
    – Buffy
    Apr 7, 2019 at 21:23
  • Because the workshop is centered about the female contribution in science
    – user103209
    Apr 7, 2019 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


Why don't you simply ask her about her willingness to be a speaker? If you explain it properly to her, I think she might see it as a nice gesture (especially if she is as helpful and intelligent as you describe). However, I personally wouldn't nominate her as a speaker without her approval, since that gives off a vibe of you deciding over her head, which you should avoid.

  • Of course, I wouldn't nominate her without her approval, but I feel afraid to ask her willingness to be a speaker. It is the first time in my career, it don't whether it is okay for a new Ph.D. student to ask her supervisor.
    – user103209
    Apr 7, 2019 at 20:14
  • 2
    I think it's perfectly fine for you to ask your supervisor. Why wouldn't you seek out for the best speakers at your workshop? If that happens to be your supervisor, it shows that you got yourself a healthy work environment for your PhD. As long as you reason genuinely with her and don't appear as if you just wanted to get imaginary bonus-points, it should be fine.
    – Baerlatsch
    Apr 7, 2019 at 20:21
  • Of course, I am not kind of person who licking shoes, I cannot do that. When I said that because genuinely I feel she deserve to be a speaker, BTW I have nominated other excellent female speakers and they will appear in the workshop. I was afraid because of my situation as her student.
    – user103209
    Apr 7, 2019 at 20:51

As long as the nomination is manifestly justifiable in academic terms, I do not think it would be "counterproductive". To take an analogy, I often cite work by my supervisor (as well as work by other authors whom I do not know) in my papers without consulting him first.

If the nomination were justifiable yet counterintuitive, be prepared to explain your rationale to the nominee and to the rest of the committee, since it may come across as awkward if the nomination would be a "wildcard" (e.g.: speaker not a specialist in the discipline under discussion).

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