I think there may be a bit of a culture clash between academic and professional conferences happening at GHC.
At academic conferences only keynotes are invited and paid, all other speakers pay their own way. This is because nearly everyone in attendance at an academic conference has some sort of publication/speaking engagement at the conference itself. Since publications are the primary currency of academic careers, attendees pay for that privilege. (This means academic conferences can have 100s of speakers distributed across multi-track schedules.)
Professional conferences tend to have all invited speakers and the attendees are all mainly there to listen (and thus pay for the experience of listening).
GHC is sorta half-way between the two. There is a distinct academic portion of the event, where there are multiple tracks of speakers talking about *their* latest work. There is also a distinct professionalism portion of the event, where you get to hear big-wig keynote speakers.
While I agree that GHC should make it easier for speakers to attend, I think it is going too far to accuse them of “sending a message that [young women] shouldn’t expect to be compensated for their work.” Especially since students who have a talk accepted at GHC are awarded scholarships to attend.