The community protests gender discrimination at professional meetings

ICQC is a triannual flagship conference conducted under the auspices of International Academy of Quantum Molecular Science. The program of the 15th ICQC published on the conference website listed 24 invited speakers, 5 chairs and honorary chairs, and did not include a single woman (as of 02/15/2014). Feeling fed up and frustrated with these practices, we reached out to the community and called for a boycott of the conference (read our letter posted to the MDN mail list; the same letter was sent to CCL). We set up an electronic petition to collect the signatures. The response from the community was overwhelming --- our letter gathered 300+ signatures in less than 24 hours; overall, 1,703 people signed the petition. The petition is now closed, but you can read the comments here.

Our voice has been heard; the organizers replied with the following letter to MDN. We will not comment on it...

Our letter generated discussions in various mail lists and social media. We thank everyone who raised their voices to support our cause. Here are selected posts we would like to share:
Editorial in Nature Materials.
USC Dornsife article by Susan Bell.
On Sexism in Theoretical Chemistry blog by Daniel Sadowsky.
Daily Princetonian coverage by Elizabeth Paul.
Article in Science by Beryl Lieff Benderly.
CEN Blog by Maureen Rouhi, CEN's Editor-in-chief, and the Editorial.
Why Science is Sexist Blog by Nicola.
A blog by theoretical cosmologist, Prof. Richard Easther.
Inside Higher Ed article by Colleen Flaherty.
PZ Mayers blog. article by Aaron Kase.
ChemisrtyWorld article and interview with Laura Gagliardi by Maria Burke.
Nature News blog posted by Elizabeth Gibney from Nature.
A blog entry by Prof. Christopher Cramer.
A post by Prof. Aurora Clark.

Non-English coverage:

Blog by Sylvie Coyaund, a French journalist living in Italy (in Italian).
Article by Deborah Dirani (in Italian).
Another write-up by Dirani (in Italian).
An article in La Repubblica (in Italian).
A blog of the Italian Chemical Society by Marco Taddia (in Italian).
China Science Dayily article (in Chinese).

How did the story develop? The organizers removed the list of speakers from the website on Sunday, 02/16/2014. We also received an official apology from the IAQMS President, Prof. Josef Michl. On 02/25, the conference organizers issued an official apology and posted it on the conference website. If your browser does not show it, you can view it here. They also amended the program. The new list of speakers was finalized on 03/18; currently, it features 6 women, which exceeds historic average of 10% (10 women out of 102 lectures over the last 3 conferences). We closed the petition on 03/18/2014.

Looking into the future, we feel strongly that gender discrimination at scientific conferences and within professional societies must stop. It is unacceptable to invite women as an afterthought, after "real speakers" are invited. Given the remarkable achievements of female scientists, this is unjustified. We hope that by raising the awareness of this issue, we contribute to changing the climate in our field.

Again, we thank everyone for their support.