A great voice to use would be Edith Skinner’s. She was the last great teacher of the North American Theater Standard. Intelligibility is there in spades. There should be resources of her reading scripts.
One of the problems I foresee with a limited female set is a higher proportion of errors. The Venn diagram of public speakers and tech people is not too good and I imagine the smaller net one casts, the worse it could be. If you have fewer people from fewer walks of life:
You might not get a female biologist who can say “antennae” correctly (it ends with the vowel of “Nike” or “banshee,” not the “ay” of “parlay”).
You might not get a female speaker who knows that cadre, fin de siecle, laissez-faire, rendez-vous, savoir faire, je ne sais pas, and forte are from French and not Spanish. (KAHD ra, FAN da see EK la, less SAY FAIR, rahn day VOO, sah VWAR FAIR, zhan SAY pah, fort).
You might not get a female speaker who knows that “alpha” is “alfa” (not “awl fa”)…
You might not get a female speaker to say “Worcestershire” correctly.
You might not get a female speaker to say “Saratoga” or “Giacomo” correctly.
And so on…with rejection from people testing the listening, this will make the number of accepted female voices even smaller.
Vice versa, the people who are public speakers (maybe they work in radio or politics) are not necessarily recording here. There is not much publicity for this project. I would suggest putting notices on the Mozilla Firefox start screen.
Additionally, females are more likely to start using new speaking styles.Yes, I realize that “cupboard” became “cubbard” and so on. It’s a fait accompli. There are certain innovations that many if not most speakers may reject.
For example, a lot of American women and Californians (male or female) do not only saw “oo” as “eeww” and “apple” as “ahpple” and “palm” as “pom/pawm” … some also merge the vowel in “nurse” in “love” and the “a” in “comma.”
You are less likely to get any females without the cot-caught merger. Any NY woman will be quite misunderstood saying “walk” by the machine as a result. You are less likely to get women who say “apple” as “EE-apple” (as in the mid-Northern states).