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The Fourth Estate

The Student News Site of Laguna Blanca School

The Fourth Estate

Men Take Over Grace Hopper Celebration

Men+Take+Over+Grace+Hopper+Celebration

(Wo)Men in STEM: An Overview of the Events of the 2023 Grace Hopper Celebration
Deck: At an event created to honor a woman and to provide women in STEM a leg up, thousands of men pounced on the opportunity to network and find jobs, completely disregarding the very purpose of the Grace Hopper Celebration.
Body:
It’s no secret that the STEM field is dominated by men. According to the Women Tech Network, women comprise only 28% of the STEM workforce. Although activists have made a lot of progress in making the field more accessible, it is still challenging to gain respect in the STEM field as a woman.
The Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) was established almost thirty years ago to honor Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, a Mark I computer during World War II and one of the first women to receive a doctorate degree in mathematics. Hopper was a trailblazer for women in mathematics and computing, and her celebration is meant to be a tribute to her work and an inspiration to women in tech.
Apple, Google, Amazon, and many other major tech companies sponsor the event every year, providing women and nonbinary people in the STEM field the opportunity to network with their recruiters and company higher-ups. However, this year, roughly 40% of participants were men, many of whom lied about their gender identity while registering.
The event is meant to be a safe and uplifting space for underrepresented groups in STEM, but for many, the number of men in attendance, paired with the men’s behavior, made the conference just as discouraging and competitive as the STEM spaces they were already used to. Several of the male attendees cut in front of, verbally berated, disrupted, and even physically shoved the women at the event.
Besides just the men attending, AnitaB.org, the nonprofit that organized the event, was under criticism. Many felt that they’d prioritized selling their up to $1,300 tickets over the event’s integrity and had severely overbooked it.
AnitaB.org issued a statement apologizing for the “aggressive environment” caused by the “unprecedented shift in both participation and subsequent behavior,” stating that they were working to prevent the events of the 2023 GHC from happening at future events.
The organization listed many plans for prevention, as simply banning men is not an option. AnitaB.org stated that “male allyship is necessary,” and the event has had male participants in the past without issue. It’s also federally prohibited to disallow attendees based solely on gender identity. Their statement mentioned improving event registration and sponsor meetings, enhancing crowd control, and revising their code of conduct.
Job hunting, especially in STEM, is only getting more competitive. In the past two years, companies in the tech industry laid off more than 400,000 workers, and some have instated hiring freezes. While this situation explains why so many men were seeking jobs at GHC this year, it is still unacceptable that a space centered around uplifting women was so heavily populated with men.
The layoffs have also disproportionately affected women over men. The Women Tech Network states that 69.2% of the employees in the recent tech layoffs were women, making the GHC even more necessary to achieve equality in the STEM field.
Events like the GHC are essential to closing the employment gap in the tech industry, and maintaining the safety of spaces for women is crucial. GHC23 is indicative of the current state of STEM spaces. Although the field has made a lot of progress, women in tech still need support to succeed.

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About the Contributor
Elyse Weaver, Staff
Elyse is a senior in her second year on the Fourth Estate staff. She enjoys writing about STEM, food, and news. She climbs at works at the rock gym, and spends her free time wtth friends and baking.
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