Branding Misfires on Women's Day 2018

McDonald's, Mattel come under criticism, and Spain's women go on strike
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2018 10:10 AM CST
Branding Misfires on Women's Day 2018
A protest during International Women's Day in Madrid on Thursday.   (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Thursday is International Women's Day, an annual event getting more attention than usual in 2018 because it's the first in the wake of the #MeToo movement. As expected, brands (including McDonald's) are looking to capitalize, though critics are calling out examples of perceived misfires. Here's a look at what's going on in the US and around the world:

  • Obituaries: One of the more interesting efforts comes from the New York Times, which acknowledges that it has focused too much on men in its obituaries over the years. A new project, "Overlooked," seeks to correct that by catching up on obits that should have been done but weren't. Subjects now getting their due include poet Sylvia Plath, anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells, and Jane Eyre author Charlotte Bronte.
  • Branding: At the Financial Times, Kate Allen thinks the move by McDonald's to flip its arches into a W is "possibly the most superficial approach to gender politics in the universe." Nor is she a fan of the stunt by French newspaper Liberation to charge male readers more on Thursday. "There are various ways to highlight the gender pay gap, but this is a vastly oversimplified one to pick."
  • Branding, II: Fortune looks at other corporate efforts, including Mattel's "role model" Barbies, also being panned. The problem for companies is that sloganeering is no longer enough, writes Claire Zillman. Google is also in on the day with its interactive Google Doodle, which invites women to share their own stories, notes People.

  • Women on strike: The BBC has a comprehensive look at protests around the world, including an unprecedented 24-hour "feminist strike" by women in Spain backed by unions and many politicians. Demonstrations there and elsewhere were calling attention to the gender wage gap and domestic violence.
  • By the numbers: The Los Angeles Times has an interesting "by the numbers" feature. Examples: 17 represents the number of women who are heads of government in 2018, while 830 represents the number of women who die each day globally from pregnancy complications.
  • Radical roots: So why March 8? As Time explains, that's the day in 1908 that thousands of female garment workers went on strike in New York City and marched through the city to demand better working conditions. The Socialist Party of America spearheaded the first National Women's Day the following year, and it has since become an international event.
  • Leaning in, five years later: Sheryl Sandberg became a leading advocate for women in the workplace with the release of Lean In in 2013. Bloomberg Businessweek looks at what has changed ("everything and nothing") and what still needs changing.
  • In DC: CNN has a new feature spotlighting the "badass women of Washington," including Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, the nation's first Latina senator.
(Read more International Women's Day stories.)

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