Female jobseekers at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Orlando, Florida, were furious when men attended the event intended for networking among women in tech.
The convention, known for connecting young female professionals with major tech firms, was held from September 26th to 29th.
Alongside female attendees, men also sought to land interviews with companies like Amazon, Google, and Tesla.
The uproar arose from the event’s decision to include nonbinary individuals, which some women felt was an exploitation of gender diversity programs.
Grace Hopper is a job fair meant to help women in the tech industry.
GHC decided to be non-binary inclusive.
This year, the event was overran by men. pic.twitter.com/0Xw4I0bQGL
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) October 3, 2023
Attendees expressed their frustration on social media, criticizing the men for gatecrashing the women’s event.
Critics also pointed out that vague benchmarks for entrance allowed men to identify as “non-binary.”
According to the New York Post, product designer Lily Li, claimed that the men “physically hurt” and pushed women out of the way in an attempt to beat them to the recruiting booths.
“The problem is competition is not fair for everyone, that’s why a women’s conference exists to level the playing field because women are highly discriminated against in tech,” she accused.
“If they had a career fair for military veterans, but civilians who have never served in the military crashed it, would you be okay with that,” Li noted.
The organization acknowledged the issue in a statement on LinkedIn, but infuriated followers for refusing to ban men from future events.
“We are committed to providing a celebratory space for women and non-binary technologists and we hear your concerns around male participation,” the organization began.
Furious female jobseekers have slammed the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Orlando, Florida after a number of men gatecrashed the event, seemingly by identifying as 'nonbinary.' 🤣🤣🤣 Oh well if it's good for the goose 😉 pic.twitter.com/xHxs5jtWvO
— Duncan McLean (@DuncanM22722159) October 5, 2023
“This year at GHC, we have seen an increase in participation of self-identifying males.”
“In regard to calls for AnitaB.org to ban males from attending GHC, Federal Non-Discrimination requirements prohibit any U.S. based organization from discriminating based on gender,” they said. “Not only must we comply with federal law, we also believe in the power of providing an inclusive space.”
Sushmita D, a principal architect at Starbucks, slammed the organization’s non-apology and accused them of putting profits over participants.
“Your statement about federal law against discrimination essentially means the advertising of this conference as being geared towards providing opportunities to women and non-binary technologists is misleading and erroneous,” she wrote.
“It’s basically an open conference and you should make that clear on your webpage. Based on some of the comments it seems to just be a money-making racket now.”
the men attending the grace hopper tech conference are so vile wtf
i really hope none of them land jobs pic.twitter.com/gdarDmxl64
— jona (@jonabox_) September 29, 2023
A software development manager at Amazon called for women and actual non-binary attendees to hold their ground against male competitors.
“It saddens me the see all those cis men attending #GHC23 and misrepresenting their gender,” she commented.
“We need male allies. We need men who want to celebrate women, who want to work with, and for women.”
One woman told the organization about how she was pushed around by men at the conference, which ultimately led to her leaving after paying an eye-watering $1,300 for her ticket.
“I was forced to leave the queue to enter the expo hall today due to unchecked men displaying aggressive behavior, ganging up to trample women completely,” the SWE intern wrote. “I feared for my health and safety and fled the scene first thing in the morning.”
The organization’s chief impact officer, Cullen White, chastised the men who misrepresented their gender identity to get into the conference.
“This is supposed to be a joyous event that centers around you,” he told female attendees at the closing ceremony. “Yesterday, it became clear that there are a far greater number of cisgender men attending.”
“Simply put, some of you lied about your gender identity when you registered – as evidenced by the stacks and stacks of resumes you’re passing out,” he continued. “You did so because you thought you could come here and take space to get a job.”
He accused them of taking interview slots and discounted tickets from the “women who need them” for their own personal gain.
“Some of you are stood in line talking to recruiters instead of letting women speak. All of those are limited resources to which you have no right,” he concluded. “So let me be perfectly clear: stop right now. Stop.”