Achieving gender equality has been a hot topic of global conversation recently. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set a target to achieve gender equality by 2030 and leading CEOs are becoming vocal proponents for the issue. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spent about $3 million after an internal equality audit to bring the salaries of female employees up to the level of their male counterparts and Mercer president and CEO Julio A. Portalatin led the When Women Thrive 2020 Challenge, asking companies to share innovations advancing women. Now, International Women's Day marks another occasion to bring the conversation around gender equality to the forefront. Here's a roundup of the brands leading the charge:
- Kellogg's and TechnoServe teamed up this week to launch an initiative to support female smallholder farmers in honor of International Women's Day. The brands have committed to build on their work in India to help 12,000 women receive training in "climate smart agriculture" as well as access to financing, tools and agricultural inputs. The program will also help train 400 female subsistence farmers in South Africa to improve quality and quantity of yields through sustainable agriculture.
- In a video as part of the brand's "Make What's Next" campaign, Microsoft asked girls to name their favorite inventors. While names like Tesla, Franklin and Einstein were mentioned, not one girl could name a female inventor, with one stating, "In school, it was always a male inventor. I just realized that." Microsoft's initiative aims to draw attention to female inventors like Ada Lovelace, Yvonne Brill and Tabitha Babbitt and promote its YouthSpark program to give young people the tools and training to succeed in computer science.
- Brawny celebrated International Women's Day with the #StrengthHasNoGender campaign. The social media effort featured videos with four strong women to show how they "embody strength and resilience in male-dominated fields." In the videos, CEO and president of Alvarado Construction Linda Alvarado; WNBA player Swin Cash; firefighter Maureen Stoecklein; and dean and president of the Morehouse School of Medicine Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, all donned the iconic "Brawny Man" red and black flannel.
- In advance of International Women's Day, Always launched the newest installment of the #LikeAGirl campaign, shining a light on gender stereotypes in emojis. The effort found that although girls send over a billion emojis a day, "nearly half (48%) feel that female emojis are stereotypical and more than two thirds (70%) would like to see female emojis portrayed more progressively, including professional female emoji options." Always encouraged girls to share the emojis they'd like to see with the hashtags #Unstoppable and #LikeAGirl.
Although International Women's Day presents a key moment in time to celebrate and promote women, brands that make substantial commitments to gender equality both in- and outside the organization stand to make the most impact in the area. In the years leading up to the SDG deadline, we look forward to seeing more companies step up with comprehensive plans to holistically address gender equality.