A tech conference for women and non-binary workers in the field last week was overrun by men, where an organizer said some unwelcome guests falsely claimed to be “non-binary” to make it in. And some onlookers watched the ensuing outcry unfold with amusement and a lack of sympathy.
“You have to admit it’s pretty funny watching a dude yelling about dudes being dudes,” said “Outnumbered” guest Ben Ferguson on Wednesday.
Indeed, Cullen White, Chief Impact Officer of the group that organized the seminar, AnitaB, chastised attendees for having “lied” about their gender.
“Yesterday, it became clear that there are a far greater number of cisgender men than we anticipated. Simply put, some of you lied about your gender when you registered,” White said at the conference.
“Outnumbered” co-host Emily Compagno said she didn’t feel any sympathy for anyone at the conference who complained about men gaming the system.
“What do you expect?” she asked. “Of course you’re going to have the whole camel eventually get into the tent, because you have been totally fine with its nose going in there.”
Panelist Dagen McDowell said she hoped those women “shrieking” in their social media about what happened would be more sympathetic to figures like Riley Gaines who are against biological men participating in women’s sports.
“Outnumbered” host Harris Faulkner said she and many other women were “screaming” about this problem that had been exemplified by men taking advantage of loose definitions of gender.
According to 404 media, the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) welcomes all genders but encourages men to attend as allies. Women at the 2023 conference last week reported a massive inundation of men that took opportunities from them.
Generation She founder and CEO Avni Barman told the outlet that this year’s conference in Orlando, Fla., stood in stark contrast to previous experiences at the event.
“I can’t speak about the years in between, but it was definitely a huge jarring difference… I was definitely pretty shocked. When I arrived at the conference, I was pretty confused about what was going on,” Barman said. “I had hundreds of girls come running to me basically in tears.”
Many men attending the conference reportedly donned lanyards with he/him pronouns. However, organizers revealed that some had previously signed up for the event with conflicting demonstratives.
Ferguson said on “Outnumbered” that the men who did that “found the code and they broke the machine” with their apparently dubious non-binary claims.
“I love this,” he said. “I think it needs to happen more so we can get back to a sane world where there is a difference between men and women.”
Videos from GHC posted to social media saw hundreds of men scattered throughout the venue.
“We need male allies. We need men who want to celebrate women, who want to work with and for women. And so we welcome men in this space, but to learn and support and improve,” he said, adding that men have been taking academic tickets and spots in recruiter lines. “So let me be perfectly clear: Stop. Right now, stop,” he added.
This year, AnitaB.org hosted the conference, which “brings the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront.”
The conference attendees took to social media to voice their concern over the disruption. They claimed the men were shoving women in line, often cutting ahead to talk to recruiters. Barman said some men were trying to sell their slots for thousands of dollars.
One LinkedIn user complained that because GHC offers limited tickets, many women were forced to compete against men for entry-priced admission.
“I know a lot of men who took up so many $649 academic spots due to which a lot of women, including me, had to pay $1299 to attend this conference,” the attendee wrote, according to 404. “We would really appreciate it if there was some kind of system put in place to restrict men from registering through the academic quota at the very least.”
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