Women Angered After Men Attend Women’s-Only Technology Conference

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing was advertised as a “safe space” for women and non-binary individuals to gather, hear lectures, and attend a job fair. According to numerous women who paid $1,300 to attend, an overwhelming number of men showed up and used the “non-binary” loophole to gain access to the event. Women said that some of the men were pushy, at times cutting lines at the job fair and pushing their way into conversations. The experience has left many of the women in attendance feeling hurt, sad, and even threatened.

Attendees took to social media in the wake of the conference that was held between September 29 and 29 in Orlando, Florida to voice complaints over the number of men and the types of behavior that men exhibited. Though there were no reports of physical injuries or men being booted from the conference, several women described the men as “attacking” women.

One attendee, Nandini Agarwal posted that the event left her feeling “drained and overwhelmed,” rather than “energized and inspired” as the event organizer, AnitaB, had promised. Agarwal posted that she missed half of the day due to long lines clogged with men and demanded a refund.

Other women posted that it seemed men did not attend any of the lectures or panels which dealt with topics such as the lack of representation in computing by women and non-binary people, but that the job fair portion of the event was dominated by men.

Non-binary is an umbrella term that is used to describe transgender individuals and others who do not identify as either male or female. The belief that one is not the same gender as their reproductive organs indicate is known as gender dysphoria, a recognized and diagnosable mental disorder akin to annorexia or schizophrenia. Most often, gender dysphoria is addressed through traditional talk therapy rather than medication.

Liberals have pushed for an expansion of the rights held by transgender people along with an effort to promote women but have received backlash from many directions. In sports, transgender men have been allowed to compete against women where their natural physical strength allows men to dominate female participants. School districts in California are being required to fund genderless bathroom spaces to accommodate the increasing number of male students who identify as female.

The Grace Hopper event is just the latest to demonstrate the complexity of adding genders beyond the three sexes currently recognized by most scientists. About 99% of the global population is defined by science as either male or female, with a small percentage being intersex, or having both male and female genitalia. Advocates believe that gender is not only fluid, but also unique to each individual and can be expressed in potentially millions of ways.