The other thing that's changed is the babies. SWE offers childcare now... a little room, nothing huge and not great for bigger kids but if you have a little one, they're right at the conference center with you all day. If it's time to nurse or you've got a gathering where they wouldn't mind babies, you just go get yours. There were babies at keynote dinners, just being passed around, babies in the halls, babies at lunch.
When I first got pregnant I was nervous about telling my new boss, so I asked my SWE section for tips and all the older women had TOO MANY suggestions for ways to hide a pregnancy. It was like the switched into a new mode. Their generation bonded together in ways that mine was left out of, I felt it. After I had my baby I went into a hole, no activities, no overtime, I definitely wouldn't have gone to a SWE conference. It's not that I was sitting out wishing the conference would change. I just wrote off everything in my mind. I expected nothing.
Now it's only been a few years but I'm seeing a shift and the way the world could be different. It could be casual and accepting and easy, with lots of input from moms about how we could be included. We all get to hold more babies, new moms don't have to feel isolated. we'd have examples all around us of how to make it work. more cooperation and more finding easy ways to just deal with life.
it felt great.