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ICANN attendance soars but “females” stay away

Kevin Murphy, December 4, 2018, 11:22:17 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN attendees identifying themselves as female plummeted to 20% of the total at ICANN 63, even as overall attendance rocketed.
According to just-published stats from ICANN, 2,639 people checked in at the Barcelona venue for the late-October meeting.
That compares favorably to the Abu Dhabi meeting a year earlier, which saw 1,929 participants show up, to the last European meeting, Copenhagen in March last year, where there were 2,089 attendees, and to the last European AGM, 2015’s Dublin meeting with its 2,395 people.
Oddly, the number of people self-declaring their femaleness was down hugely. It reliably hovers around the 33% mark usually, but in Barcelona it was down to one in five.
The number of “males” was also down, from 59% in Abu Dhabi to 53% in at 63.
It seems very likely that the gender balance has not substantially changed, but that fewer people are ticking the gender box when they sign up.
The number of participants who chose not to disclose their gender was 27%, up from 10% in Abu Dhabi, 11% at ICANN 61 and 14% at ICANN 62.
There were wide regional differences in gender balance.
There were 1,440 attendees from Europe in Barcelona, more than half the total, and 28% of them did not disclose their gender. That number was just 8% among North Americans and 9% for Africans.
I’m at a loss to explain why the number of undeclareds would see such a sharp increase — did ICANN change how it gathers gender data this time around, or are people, women in particular, becoming more reticent to disclose their gender?
Perhaps Europeans registering on-site, where perhaps the gender option was easier to ignore on the terminals, tilted the balance? I’m speculating.
In other stats, it seems the number of sessions and session-hours is (thankfully) on the decline.
There were 338 session at 63, down from 407 a year ago, and the number of hours was down by 100, from 696 to 596.
The numbers also show a strong bias towards sessions involving the Governmental Advisory Committee when it comes to attendance, but that’s probably due to the GAC being so bloody big compared to other groups.
All this, and more additional statistics than anyone could possibly ever find useful, can be found here.

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Comments (7)

  1. Jan Peeters says:

    It has to do with an increase in privacy awareness … a trend that is directly related to GDPR implementation.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      I considered that, but then I thought that it should be perfectly obvious in almost all cases what gender a given person is, either by looking at them or inferring from their name. The explanation doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

  2. Richard Funden says:

    How many self-identified as genderfluid table lamps?

  3. Michael Anthony Castello says:

    The difference is between builders and buyers. At the beginning of this domain industry there were “no” women that I can recall of, only men. Look at construction? Mostly men building structures. The internet is still being built.
    There still is the question of why women don’t embrace the infastructure of the internet. All the reasons I could suggest would make me seem misogynistic-which I am it.
    I was in the music industry. There were a lot of women in that vertical. What does the music industry have that DNS doesn’t?
    Probably only men reading this! 🙂

  4. Phil Buckingham says:

    Another interesting, but alarming stat is that 41% (1082) were first timers. I am guessing the vast majority are unlikely to be in Kobe in March 19. The flip side is the number of experienced, knowledgeable, previously regular attendees ICANN has lost – lets call it – the ICANN brain drain – that no longer attend ICANN meetings since the Dublin peak.

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