In an unexpected turn of events at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, held in Orlando, Florida from September 26th to 29th, male attendees caused a stir by infiltrating the convention meant primarily for women and non-binary individuals.
The convention, aimed at connecting young female professionals with major tech firms, found itself swarmed by men claiming to be non-binary as they sought interviews with tech giants like Apple, Google and Amazon.
Women's tech conference overrun by men claiming to be 'non-binary' draws amused reaction: 'I love this' https://t.co/DWWjfTtUWY
— Fox News (@FoxNews) October 5, 2023
The controversy arose from the convention’s inclusive policy, allowing non-binary individuals to attend. Some women felt the influx of men was an attempt to exploit gender diversity programs, leading to an outpour of frustration on social media.
One attendee, Mamantha J, shared her disappointment on LinkedIn, saying, “As a woman who has experienced patriarchic dominance in the tech industry, I hoped the convention would provide a fair chance for me to connect with potential employers.”
Complaints ranged from long lines to exhausted recruiters, with attendees witnessing a significant number of cisgender men taking opportunities meant for women and non-binary individuals.
Attendees took to social media to voice their concerns, citing incidents of men cutting lines and even attempting to sell their slots for thousands of dollars. Some requested measures to restrict men from registering through academic quotas, ensuring more equitable access for women.
AnitaB’s LinkedIn page was inundated with responses from outraged individuals, reflecting the intensity of the controversy. AnitaB.org Advisory President Young Lee acknowledged the concerns, expressing a commitment to addressing the issues and ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for all attendees.
The uproar did not go unnoticed, with some onlookers, like “Outnumbered” guest Ben Ferguson, finding humor in the situation while discussing the issue.
“You have to admit it’s pretty funny watching a dude yelling about dudes being dudes,” Ferguson stated.
“Outnumbered” co-host Emily Compagno questioned the sympathies of those who complained, arguing that allowing such loopholes in gender definitions inevitably led to this outcome.
“What do you expect? 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,” she stated.
Dagen McDowell, who was on the panel, expressed hope that women vocalizing their concerns would also empathize with those opposing biological men in women’s sports.
Harris Faulkner, another “Outnumbered” host, highlighted the problem of loose gender definitions, which had been exploited by men seeking opportunities meant for women.
Cullen White, the chief impact officer of the organizing group, AnitaB, criticized attendees for misrepresenting their gender during registration. He emphasized that some had “lied” about their gender, contributing to the unexpected influx of male participants.
For Ferguson, the incident will open the world’s eyes to the anomaly that has men and women muddled up. “I love this. “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,” he stated.