For International Women’s Day last week, most companies rolled out a photo or two celebrating their own female employees. A few companies took it a step further, introducing campaigns or promotions with a focus on gender equality.
— Twitter Women (@TwitterWomen) March 8, 2016
For example, Microsoft posted a video with young girls struggling to name female inventors. The video then leads into some of the many inventions created by women, with the goal of encouraging young girls to pursue STEM ambitions. Google took a more creative route and talked to over 300 around the women about their goals and aspirations for the future.
TWBA, an agency based in New York, released a video in conjunction with its Project 20/20 campaign, an initiative that challenges the industry to increase women’s leadership roles by 20% by 2020. The video shows men from within the TWBA network reading anonymous quotes from their female peers.
Other campaigns and projects by companies include:
- Coca Cola’s 5by20 campaign: Employ 5 million female entrepreneurs by 2020.
- YouTube’s Own Your Voice
- Kellog’s push to employ female farmers
- Happn & Equality Now address domestic violence
For many companies, posting a quick photo of female employees may seem like the ‘trendy’ thing to do, but it goes beyond just a trend. International Women’s Day is important because it address the issues we have on both societal and workplace levels. Women are not equal to men. In 2014, women were only paid 79% of what men were paid. And that gap gets even worse for female CEOS.
Besides the pay gap, another big issue for women is the stereotypes that go along with women in leadership positions. Women’s are often given described with negative terms when they hold a leadership position compared to men who are often described positively. The Girl Scouts campaign Ban Bossy counteracts these stereotypes with research describing the negative causes of these stereotypes.
Even the PR industry isn’t free from these gender imbalances. Public Relations is well-known as a female-dominated industry, and yet many of the top executives and CEOs are men. QZ reports 61-85% of all PR jobs are held by women, 59% of PR managers are female, but only 30% of all global PR agencies are run by women.
This is why addressing the problem is the best possible solution. By posting about International Women’s Day, companies are doing more than just posting about a trend. They’re making a difference and bringing a serious issue to the public eye. International Women’s Day is the opportunity for companies to address these issues and make changes. Addressing the problem is the first step, and the more companies post and share information, the sooner we can make a difference.