Women-only Grace Hopper tech fair overrun by men identifying as ‘women’ | World News - Hindustan Times
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Grace Hopper tech fair overrun by men identifying as ‘women’ or ‘non-binary’

Oct 04, 2023 06:31 PM IST

One of the few women-only tech conferences in America was overun by men.

The Grace Hopper Celebration is an annual tech conferenced designed to bring “research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront”. However, this year, the conference was overrun by men who gate-crashed the event by registering as “women”, “trans”, or “non-binary”.

ScreenGrab (TikTok)
ScreenGrab (TikTok)

Named after legendary computer scientist, mathematician, and Naval commander Grace Hopper, the annual conference is the largest gathering of women in the tech industry, and whose sponsors include Apple, Amazon, and Bloomberg. The annual conference took place last week at Orlando, Florida. According to a report in Wired, droves of men turned up with resumes in hand. It’s considered a major networking opportunity for tech workers and admission costs vary between $649 and $1300.

AnitaB.Org, the organisation that runs the conference said there was an "increase in participation of self-identifying males” and added that they were unable to ban men from attending to due to federal non-discrimination laws in the US.

Bo Young Lee, president of the advisory at AnitaB.Org said on LinkedIn that environment always felt “safe and loving” but this year “it didn’t feel this way”.

She said: “This year, I must admit, I didn’t feel this way. And I know that many of you felt the same. Many of you are feeling unsafe, physically, and psychologically, and you’re feeling unheard. We tried to create a safe space, and this week we saw the outside world creep in. This makes me angry, and it makes me sad, but mostly it makes me want to fight.”

Cullen White, AnitaB.org’s, chief impact officer said in a video posted on X that some registrants “lied” about their gender identity, and men were taking up “space and time with recruiters” that was meant for women. All this comes at a time when the tech industry is going through a massive downturn, and according to Layoffs.fyi, 400,000 workers lost their jobs in 2022 and 2023.

Several X users expressed their dismay at the turn of events. One user wrote, “The men attending the grace hopper tech conference are so vile. wtf. i really hope none of them land jobs.”

Another posted: “Have y’all seen how so many men crashed the Grace Hopper conference? It’s meant to be a conference for WOMEN. But men now go there and say they’re non binary or trans and they’re taking away opportunities from WOMEN. It’s so fucking sickening it makes mad.”

Another user however, found some hilarity in the event and wrote: “That Grace Hopper shit is the funniest thing I've seen in months. It has killed me. I am dead. I'm so sad that I wasn't there.”

Founder and CEO of Odyssey, Autumn Zhu wrote on X: “It’s f_______ some men are suddenly fake-identifying with she/her pronouns to go to Grace Hopper bc they can’t find jobs otherwise and at the same time be blatantly opposing people genuinely transitioning and embracing their gender identity. You wanna identify as she/her? Be fully aligned about it & deal with the reality of being a woman outside of looking for jobs you can’t get otherwise.”


On the other hand, others pointed out that what happened at Grace Hopper was an extension of allowing “trans folks into women’s spaces”. Anita Harding, wrote on Outkick, a conservative sports media outlet: "…let’s keep that same energy when it comes to women’s sports, locker rooms, prisons and other private spaces.It is a shame what happened at Grace Hopper. But when you create a system that allows women to be marginalized under the banner of love and inclusivity, this is what happens. And it’s interesting that a group of tech nerds — motivated by numbers and facts — is even entertaining the charade that men can be women. Hopefully the organizers will take this lesson and make sure next year’s women’s conference is open only to women.”

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