The 2015 TEDWomen conference kicked off earlier this week in Monterery, California, with the mission of celebrating the accomplishments and potential of women and girls across the globe. However, it seems that the organization is still figuring out how to include mothers: Yesterday, Jessica Jackley, an author and entrepreneur, was asked to leave the conference when she showed up with her 5-month year old baby.
The event staff who asked Jackley to leave explained that children are not permitted to attend the conference — a rule that, according to organizers, is intended to facilitate an “immersive” experience in the audience (cell phones are also not permitted in the main theater). Currently, TED does not allow children at any of its conferences, and also does not provide on-site child care or rooms for nursing women to pump.
Mashable reports that June Cohen, the executive producer of TED Media, subsequently apologized to Jackley, inviting her back to the conference. Cohen said the decision to ask Jackely and her child to leave was a mistake, adding, “Clearly this is a policy we need to revisit.”
Update: According to a blog post published by TED staff this afternoon, the organization has set up a simulcast lounge intended for parents with young children. (Unfortunately, by the time Jackley learned of this development, she had already booked a flight home.) TED confirmed that it plans to revisit its no-kids policy to find “a solution for parents with infants and small children, while preserving the conference experience for all.”