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Speaker barred from conference for bringing in baby

/ 01:27 PM June 12, 2019
Speaker barred from conference for bringing baby

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One mother, who was a speaker at the Geospatial Intelligence Conference, was barred from entering an exhibit hall after bringing her 8-month-old baby.

It took months for Drew Amanda Zachary to prepare her presentation for the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s (USGIF) conference in Texas, as per TODAY on June 11. She, however, was denied entry from the hall when she came with her baby daughter Dasha.

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“I went up to sign in and was blocked because I had my daughter with me,” Zachary said in the report. “They said, you can come in, if the baby stays outside.’ Not that it matters, but Dasha wasn’t crying. She was in a wonderful mood.”

She added she attempted to speak to some of the event managers, but to no avail. “Everyone just kept repeating, ‘We don’t allow anyone under 18, it’s a liability issue.’”

Zachary wrote about her upsetting experience on social media that day, saying she missed half of the event, including the keynote presentation of Sue Gordon, the principal deputy director of National Intelligence.

“Women need to be represented in all leadership, planning committees, etc so that people in the decision chain have experienced the uniquely female situation of breastfeeding an infant and being the *yes primary* caregiver, who also has a job,” she wrote on Twitter.

She also said women are not meaningfully included in the field if they have to pick between being parents and joining the main convening.

“Wouldn’t go back to @GEOINTsymposium representing the [Federal Government], myself or any other org unless rules/inclusion change,” she added.

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The USGIF has apologized to Zachary for the incident via Twitter, but reiterated that they do not permit those under 18 years old in the conference.

“@USGIF apologizes for the inconvenience and show management welcomes continuing the dialogue,” USGIF said. “However, the GEOINT Symposium has a stated policy that those under 18 are not admitted due to liability and insurance concerns.” Cody Cepeda/JB

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TAGS: conference, Discrimination, Motherhood, United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, women representation, workplace discrimination
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