The women’s book fairs are always an event to get excited about, and every year they can be quite exciting.
This year, however, there was one event that had some women feeling particularly uncomfortable.
The International Women’s Book Fair (IWBF), which runs from September 16-20, is a world-wide event that celebrates the achievements and diversity of women.
But as with every other major book fair, the first night of the convention was not without controversy.
The Toronto International Women, Gender & Gender Studies Conference (TIGSD) was cancelled due to the recent rise of Gamergate, an online movement that aims to harass women online.
The Gamergate hashtag was created to show the extent of the harassment that women in the games industry have faced, with critics accusing it of spreading misogyny.
While the Gamergate hashtag, which has been used to harass and intimidate women in video games, has had a chilling effect on the event, there have been some positive things about the events past.
The International Woman, Gender, and Gender Studies Association (IwGSA) has had to take a few steps to address the harassment issue, but it’s still an issue that many attendees have faced.
The IWGSA says it was one of the reasons it decided to cancel the convention.
The organisation had recently found itself under criticism after an incident in which an attendee, who did not want to be identified, said she had been “threatened with rape and other forms of sexual violence” by attendees of the conference.
At the time, the IWGA said the woman had “a history of sexual assault”, but was not prepared to go through with the threat.
This led to a backlash against the organisation from people who believed the woman was being targeted for being an advocate for women’s issues.
“There were many people who were supportive of the event because they were very supportive of a woman’s right to speak and have a voice,” says IWGTSA spokesperson Marissa Fishel.
“There was also a very vocal group of people who supported it.”
Fishel says she was not sure how the cancellation would affect the other speakers.
“If the event had gone on, it would have been fantastic,” she says.
“It was such a great chance for women and gender-non-binary people to share their stories and to celebrate the work they’re doing.”
But Fishell says that the event was cancelled because of Gamergate.
“The backlash was very intense, especially from those who didn’t agree with the decision to cancel,” she explains.
“Many people who participated in the event were really upset and really felt like the conference was being censored.”
Fishell also points out that there was no indication in the cancellation notice that the IWWGSA would have to take any action to address harassment.
“The cancellation was not in response to any harassment or threats, but rather because the IAWS has determined that it would not be possible to maintain the event without the threat of harassment,” she tells Business Insider.
And despite the cancellation, many of the people who attended the IWCSD felt like they were on the receiving end of harassment.
“I think the fact that it was cancelled speaks volumes about the way the IGWSA handles harassment,” says Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist and YouTube commentator.
“This was a conference about empowering women to speak out about issues of gender inequality and to challenge the ways that the gaming industry is patriarchal.”
The IWC’s spokesperson says the organisation will still be hosting events that support diversity and women, but the focus will be on “allowing a range of viewpoints and different perspectives to be heard and represented”.
Sarkeesian also points to the cancellation of the Women in Gaming Conference (WIGC), an event she founded in 2013 that would focus on highlighting issues around gaming.
She says that while the event cancelled because she didn’t want to see the event “shut down”, she is happy with the outcome.
IWG is not the only organisation to have been impacted by Gamergate, and Sarkeesians experience has inspired her to speak about the problem.
“It’s the Gamergate thing that really motivated me to come out and speak out, and also because I think there are a lot of people in the gaming world that feel that this is an issue, and I think they need to know about it and be informed,” she told Business Insider earlier this year.
Sarkes said that while she was aware of the backlash, she felt it was an issue for other people to hear.
But the IEWGSA’s Fisher says that as the organisation works to address this issue, she is hopeful it will be addressed.
“There is a very large, vocal group that supports this organisation, but also there are many people in other organisations that support the organisation and