I've recently seen a few "female-only" lectures about technical topics, organized by companies that try to promote the presence of women in engineering. While I don't feel like I'm discriminated (there are tons of "inclusive" events out there), I still feel like they're breaking the law. To be more specific, here's a description of a similar event in the US:

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Is it legal to organize such events, under the anti-discrimination laws in the EU?

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    I can't speak to EU law, but in the US it might depend on funding sources of the organization running the event. Federally-funded education has restrictions that something privately funded might not. But the San Francisco event sounds like it might fit into a category where it is neither expressly required nor permitted: voluntary sexual segregation. Single-sex schools still exist in the US. Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 0:21

2 Answers 2


In the case of the US, the only anti-discrimination laws that would cover an event is the Civil Rights Act of 1964, under the rubric "public accommodation", in Title II. But that law does not prohibit sex discrimination. The extent of "public accommodation" is not clearly defined, but generally is held to be about "a place", and would include "entrance into this facility". It might be illegal in California, though, since the Unruh Civil Rights Act is more generic, not excluding sex on this point. The main issue would be whether this organization is a "business".


In the EU the discrimination is only committed if a male were refused entry to such event, the question is of advertising the event as women-only I would use the words Women's Hackathon instead of stipulating women only.

Remember also that 'Women/Woman' these days as LBGTQ movement makes more progress it is more about self-identification a transgender person pre-op living as a woman for X years is considered a woman.


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    self-identification of trans people is a hotly disputed issue. Many won't consider them a woman. Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 9:53
  • What is considered "living as a woman"? Commented Jan 19, 2023 at 21:42

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