Opinion: IMEX's Pink Hour 'insensitive' and 'demeaning'

The O2's head of corporate sales Becci Thomson has spoken out against IMEX's decision to name its women's networking event 'Pink Hour'.

Opinion: IMEX's Pink Hour 'insensitive' and 'demeaning'
Opinion: IMEX's Pink Hour 'insensitive' and 'demeaning'

Following IMEX Group's announcement that it will launch a women's networking hour at this week's Frankfurt trade show called 'Pink Hour', Thomson writes exclusively for C&IT arguing that it reduces women to an "outdated, demeaning stereotype."


The press release issued by IMEX Group states:

"All women in the events industry are cordially invited to the first Pink Hour @ IMEX on Wednesday, 17 May, 2017, at 1600 hours at the tw-stand G180. IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer and tw editor-in-chief Kerstin Wünsch will be present and are looking forward to exchanging ideas with anyone who comes along. Everyone who wears a fun pink accessory will be particularly welcome."


"In the days where we are seeing more and more support for ‘un-gendered’ achievements and success, awards for acting and clothing for example, this idea for a Pink Hour at IMEX appears to be an outdated initiative. It only reinforces the stereotypes we work so hard to challenge. Why is the networking event named Pink Hour and why does the accessory have to be pink? Why do people need to be subjected to wearing pink to join, and thereby not expressing individuality, but conforming to an outdated stereotype?

"It is incredibly insensitive and demeaning to women to suggest that they should wear pink to a networking event which will likely discuss some important and sensitive issues. I will always support an event or initiative that is geared towards inspiring, encouraging and empowering women in the industry, and I recognise the need to look into how women are feeling, but the execution of this particular networking event and encouraging pink is sexist and goes against issues that the study highlights. I’m also sure that if a Blue Hour networking event for men was introduced during which they had to wear a blue accessory, they would also consider it incredibly sexist and degrading.

"It will be very interesting to see the response to this particular initiative in terms of the number of women that attend and whether they do indeed turn up wearing pink. There are other credible initiatives such as Fast Forward 15, which are doing great work in raising the profile of women and inspiring them to further success. Women need championing in the industry, not reducing to an outdated, demeaning stereotype."

IMEX Group was contacted for comment.

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