Sexist comments common at JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

Gender equality at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco had already appeared to be an issue when it was reported by STAT that more men named Michael were presenting at the event than all women combined. Another STAT story says the problems go deeper in the “party culture” surrounding the show.

The conference “is sort of a mosh pit of power and insecurity — along with sleeplessness and excessive consumption of alcohol. Those four factors are never good, especially in combination … it’s a bit of a recipe for disaster,” said Nina Kjellson, a general partner at the venture capital firm Canaan.

Women told STAT male attendees had made comments towards them such as “I can’t believe you’re so smart and you’re so attractive,” or questioning why a female CEO wasn’t “at home raising your kids” instead of pitching to male venture capitalists.

While female attendees said their experiences at the conference have also been valuable and enjoyable, many also described it as a “boys club,” and have informally advised each other on how to navigate the event. Among their tips: Stay focused on your work and if you go out drinking at night, always have a trusted friend with you.

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