The National Autonomous University of Mexico has come under severe criticism for hosting a feminist conference that features an all-male panel, with top names in the feminist movement canceling their participation and calling for a boycott of the event.
“What’s next? A conference on racism with only white people?” commented one Twitter user.
“Feminism for dummies: we don’t have a single representative, there are many of us and we’re very diverse. Invite many women to your debates,” the feminist blogger Ana Gonzalez tweeted about the 11 male participants invited to speak at the event.
¿Qué sigue? ¿Un coloquio sobre racismo con puros blancos? ¿"Racismo y MERCADO"?— Atardecer Ranchero (@Bea_IsBored) October 2, 2017
“What’s next? A conference on racism with only white people? Racism and the market?"
Another twitter commentator described the event scheduled for Oct. 11 as a “graphic description of mansplaining,” posting an image of the pink flyer circulated by organizers of the event.
UNAM defended its event which honors Mexico’s leading feminist Marta Lamas, saying the title of the event is, "Marta Lamas in dialogue with XY," and will feature the feminist activist in a debate against the 11 men.
"I've been talking to only women for half a century and that's why we wanted to do an event with only men," said Lamas, who is part of the women’s rights movement, explaining that the conference was created as a sort of tribute to her efforts.
The activist said she and organizers felt traditional ceremony would have had less of an impact, so they had decided to take the opportunity to hear the opinions of "allied men, friends that are committed to the struggle."
"It was a provocation, a wink, something fun, playful and creative to show that there are also men who have followed my work and feminist thinking and struggle," the 70-year-old professor told local media.
Susan Ochoa, co-founder of the organization “Con Nosotras” which encourages boycotting of all-male forums, showed her support for the conference, saying it could start a conversation of the importance of women in public debate.
“It’s good that this has created debate about the issue,” said Ochoa. “I think their intention was good, but it wasn’t communicated appropriately.”