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The original text of this article has been published on Nature.

Nancy Amato didn’t want to go to Las Vegas. In 2015, it was the chosen venue for one of the main events in her field — the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). But she and other women involved in organizing it felt that the city, famed for its strip clubs, was unsuitable. Among the first achievements of the organizing committee — which that year was all-female — was moving the conference to Seattle in Washington.

The committee had even bigger ambitions for the male-skewed meeting. “Often, people say there aren’t any women speaking because there aren’t any out there, so we thought, ‘Let’s show them a tonne of women and that might change things’,” she says.

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