ICANN’s Ombudsman has received what is thought to be the first complaint of sexual harassment at an ICANN meeting.
The allegation emerged during a meeting between non-commercial stakeholders and the ICANN board of directors yesterday.
During its sessions with constituency groups yesterday, the ICANN board had pushed participants for their views on geographic and gender diversity in the ICANN community.
“Two days ago I was sexually harassed at this meeting,” the complainant, who I’m not going to name here, told the board.
She said she discovered the best way to address her grievance was by reporting it to the ICANN Ombudsman.
“I was amazed that the Ombudsman told me that I was the first registered complaint of sexual harassment in the history of ICANN,” she said.
No details of the incident or alleged perpetrator were given.
The complainant said that ICANN should have a policy in place to deal with such behavior.
The organization has written expected standards of behavior, but they don’t specifically cover harassment.
While I’m aware of multiple incidents of women feeling sexually harassed at ICANN meetings — even witnessed a couple first-hand — this is the first time I’ve heard about a formal complaint being made.
A few years ago, the Ombudsman stepped in quickly to resolve an issue of sexist paraphernalia at a exhibitor’s booth, but that complaint was made by a man and did not amount to “harassment” as such.