GHC14: Male Allies Twitter Roundup

GHC14 for the win!

  1. As many of you may have heard, ABI hosted a "Male Allies Plenary" session at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2014. This was controversial before the conference even started, due to the fact that one of the original impetuses behind GHC was to give women a unique conference where women would be the focus. And not just for being women, but for their technical accomplishments, their current research and struggles and for being real humans. Giving the stage, and a plenary at that, to all men struck a hard chord with folks.
  2. Don't get me wrong, I think the idea itself was great - hear voices from male leaders and what they are doing to improve things for women at their companies (because, well, most tech companies are led by men still), but the lack of Q&A and lack of connection to the audience (the panelists mistook heckling for shouts of encouragement) were frustrating to many. It started out great, it really did - but then went wrong - and was a sour note to end the first night of the conference on for many.
  3. And, please, a man said to me: "How could they [ABI] expect this to go any other way with such a hostile audience?". Ahem - this conference and its attendees are the antithesis of hostile. It's an incredibly welcoming environment where you can meet people interested in hearing what you have to say - no matter what your background, ethnicity or socio-economic status. GHC has, in the past, had many men up on stage with great results - as they were part of a discussion with women and listened. Many women who attend GHC are the only woman in their organization or research team or school doing tech. They get "talked at" [aka mansplained] by their colleagues all day at work and they do come to GHC for a reprieve, to participate, learn and grow. Seeing something that resembled their frustration from work life being honored in a plenary was difficult to swallow. In the end, there was a "talk back" session added the next day where 3 out of four panelists did come back to just *listen* to women and it was eye opening for all.
  4. Here are some tweets from during and after this panel. As there is no video online, these are some of our only records of what happened.
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