It was meant to be a week for women in tech—but this year's Grace Hopper Celebration was swamped by men who gate-crashed the event in search of lucrative tech jobs.
The annual conference and career fair aimed at women and non-binary tech workers, which takes its name from a pioneering computer scientist, took place last week in Orlando, Florida. The event bills itself as the largest gathering of women in tech worldwide and has sought to unite women in the tech industry for nearly 30 years. Sponsors include Apple, Amazon, and Bloomberg, and it's a major networking opportunity for aspiring tech workers. In-person admission costs between $649 and around $1,300.
This year, droves of men showed up with résumés in hand. AnitaB.org, the nonprofit that runs the conference, said there was "an increase in participation of self-identifying males" at this year's event. The nonprofit says it believes allyship from men is important and noted it cannot ban men from attending due to federal nondiscrimination protections in the US.
Organizers expressed frustration. Past iterations of the conference have "always felt safe and loving and embracing," said Bo Young Lee, president of advisory at AnitaB.org, in a LinkedIn post. "And this year, I must admit, I didn't feel this way."
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