Yes, how dare someone on the other side of the world do something that doesn't fit with contemporary American standards for what is professional! Clearly this is the fault of the technology industry, as a whole. Just like the energy industry is clearly not inclusive because of how middle-eastern oil-producing countries treat women. </sarcasm>
Seriously, can we please stop seeking out any instance of anything inappropriate and then using it to slander an entire industry? The fact that something potentially sexist happened somewhere doesn't mean that discrimination is rampant throughout the industry.
Secondly, I'm not arguing that this incident proves our industry is sexist. My argument is that the low number of women involved in our industry is a problem, and one thing we can do to address that problem is to have a zero tolerance attitude to this kind of thing.
Thirdly, I couldn't care less about "professionalism". The first London Hack Day had people playing Faceball on stage! I care about behaviour that makes a portion of the potential audience feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.
I imagine a far greater proportion of the potential audience consists of (guys who get offended on behalf of women for sexist behaviour) than consists of (women who may or may not care). On that basis this behaviour should be stopped. Not because zero tolerance is the right answer; that way lies political correctness gone mad.
I'm a male and I would have been quite disappointed at this whole thing, and I certainly don't get 'upset' at seeing scantily clad females, the beaches here are full of them.
The problem is the context, as if women on a gathering like that have nothing but 'decorative' functions, and as if all men would find such a display appropriate.
I also think that regardless of how far from 'home' this happened if that's yahoos' approach to this kind of event anywhere that it reflects bad on them as a company. The apology that is linked to from here is actually pretty weak.
Not much, other than it was invented at Flickr. There was an on stage faceball match during a gap between presentations at the first Open Hack Day, as entertainment. Silly entertainment that didn't alienate anyone.
Many American technology conferences and trade shows are just as bad, and the same debate happens about them. (Yes, even in the U.S. some companies hire go-go dancers for their customer conferences.)
And since this event was sponsored by Yahoo, you would think that Yahoo management would be concerned about how it would be viewed not just by the Taiwanese attendees but also their worldwide employees (and employees' families), customers, and shareholders.