Critique of Pink Hour 'distracts from real issues', says Carina Bauer

Carina Bauer, CEO of IMEX, has responded to criticism of women's networking event Pink Hour for encouraging gender stereotypes, calling it a 'distraction'.

Carina Bauer
Carina Bauer

Earlier this week, The O2's Becci Thomson criticised IMEX's decision to name its women's networking event Pink Hour arguing that it is 'insensitive' and 'demeaning'.

Bauer spoke to C&IT at IMEX Frankfurt saying that the focus on its name is a distraction from the real challenges facing women, especially in the events industry.

Bauer said: "Calling it Pink Hour is just a bit of fun and criticism is a distraction from the great results of the survey. The event is inclusive- no one would be turned away for not wearing pink- it is simply an expression of identity.

"Pink Hour is not run by IMEX, it’s an event run by TW magazine with our support. TW conducted a survey which received over 1000 responses from women all over the world and the event is a reception to celebrate women off the back of this.

"The discussion around this shows it is a difficult issue. If we as women argue about inconsequential things we will never get to the real issues. This is a great industry for women but women still need mentorship to get to those senior positions. If we don’t celebrate the opportunity for this, we will never change women’s reality."

Bauer also responded to comments on Saudi Arabia's presence at the show this year, with some attendees expresseing concern that the country is exhibiting due to its poor human rights record, particularly towards women. 

"Our industry is all about inclusiveness – bringing people together to learn from each other and develop relationships. The Meetings Industry is a vital force for good in the world – by bringing different cultures together we can have an enormous impact on fostering understanding between cultures.

"We understand that women are welcome to take part in events as organisers, exhibitors and delegates. Many women from Saudi Arabia are here working as stand partners and in senior positions in the Saudi industry.

It’s interesting that Saudi are having a very successful first show with a very strong number of appointments. The fact that so many buyers were interested in finding out more about what Saudi has to offer shows speaks for itself."

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