A recent tech conference aimed at providing a platform for women and non-binary individuals in the field found itself embroiled in controversy and chaos as male attendees unexpectedly overran it. Here’s what happened.
Women In Tech
The Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), organized by AnitaB, has been a pivotal event for women and non-binary individuals in the tech industry.
However, this year’s conference, held in Orlando, Florida, took an unexpected turn when a substantial number of cisgender men attended.
The organizers of GHC, which welcomes all genders but encourages male attendees to participate as allies, were caught off guard by the massive influx of male attendees.
Invaded by Men
While men were welcome to support and learn from women and non-binary individuals, the number of men in attendance at this year’s conference created a significant disruption.
Avni Barman, the founder and CEO of Generation She, described the stark contrast between this year’s event and previous editions.
She expressed her shock at the sudden turn of events, with hundreds of female attendees approaching her in distress.
Men Claiming ‘Non-Binary’ Identities
One of the main points of contention was that many male attendees claimed they were non-binary during registration, apparently to gain access to the event.
This deception sparked outrage among the conference’s intended participants, leading to concerns about the fairness of the registration process.
The situation reached a point where some men attending the conference were seen wearing lanyards with he/him pronouns despite prior registrations suggesting otherwise.
Men Taking Women’s Spaces
Some attendees expressed their frustration at men taking up spots that could have gone to women and non-binary individuals.
They also reported instances of men cutting in line and trying to sell their slots for substantial sums.
Critics argued that GHC should implement measures to restrict men from registering through academic quotas to ensure that women have fair access to the event.
Unsafe and Unheard
These concerns found their way onto LinkedIn, with AnitaB’s page drowned with comments from outraged individuals.
In response to the mounting concerns, Young Lee, the Advisory President of AnitaB.org, released a video addressing the situation.
She acknowledged the collective sentiment of feeling unsafe and unheard among attendees.
“Feeling Unsafe Physically and Psychologically”
She said, “In the past, it has always felt safe and loving and embracing. And this year I must admit I didn’t feel this way. And I know that many of you feel this way. Many of you are feeling unsafe physically and psychologically, and you’re feeling unheard. I want you to know that we’re taking this so personally and I’m taking it personally.”
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “Turns out woke workplace policies aren’t as fun in the real world…”
“What the Wokies Want”
Another user added, “I’ve come to the conclusion that to get a majority of women to stand up against the Trans movement, men need to celebrate when Trans women triumph over actual women. When actual women see the men are happy, they will move quickly to correct the situation.”
A third user commented, “This is what the wokies want. Why complain now? How do these women know that they are men and not non-binary?”
A fourth user wrote, “The irony of a ‘women’s tech conference’ turning into a non-binary playground. Who knew gender labels were such a versatile accessory?”
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