I specifically did not attend GHC this year because in the past, ABI events have left me feeling a strong sense of alienation. I hardly see people who look like me on stage. Furthermore, there are tons of fancy events that students from elite schools get invited to, and others simply don’t know about. That reinforces a second class citizen environment. Its elitism that serves as a tool against inclusion.
I also don’t like the fact that it caters a lot to executives and middle managers. Its losing its egalitarian ethos. It no longer feels like a celebration of all women in computing, when there are several events that students cannot participate in.
I hope in the future, it goes back to the egalitarian conference that did not distinguish between women. Beyond inclusion, it also seems the conference has been overtaken by corporate interest. Its very “recruitment of women in tech” driven. As a result, some women feel overwhelmed, others who are further along in their careers feel like there isn’t much for them, and certain executive women don’t get enough opportunity to interact and mentor women further down the pipeline from them.
If all these things change, ABI’s GHC would be a spectacular force for change.