International Women’s Day offers comms opportunities

PR pros and internal communicators celebrate notable female accomplishments during International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. But audiences—as well as reporters—can spot inauthenticity.

Women's Day comms opportunities

International Women’s Day is approaching and, with it, the opportunity for organizations to show their support for gender equality.

Representatives of UN Women rang the opening bell at Nasdaq this week, and organizations are forging partnerships to promote gender equality.

Supported by partners such as Avon and Amazon, International Women’s Day 2020 (March 8) is championing women in areas such as athletics, technology, health care and other fields.

The day falls within Women’s History Month, affording organizations further opportunities to address relevant issues as March continues.

“Communicating about this day—and month—is an incredible opportunity to empower and lift up other women entrepreneurs,” says Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com. “The number of women who start a business, get funding and create ‘unicorn companies’ only increases year after year.”

Sweeney’s company marked the week with a blog post titled “22 Women Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Biggest Role Model.”

The importance of such messaging is clear. Men reported higher salaries and bonuses than women in Ragan’s Salary & Workplace Culture Survey 2020. Women’s compensation ($94,319) trailed that of men ($102,359), although 85% of participants were women and just 15% were men.

Men were also more satisfied with their compensation (70%) than women (51%). Men averaged $7,815 in annual bonuses, nearly $1,400 higher than what women received.

Authenticity is a must

Stakeholders are not alone in demanding authenticity these days. A parenting editor at Good Housekeeping magazine tweeted a tip for PR pros thinking of bombarding her inbox.

As organizations communicate internally and externally on the topic, prudence is essential, says Liz Miller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“Beware,” Miller says. “If you lack authenticity in the conversation, now is not the time to jump onto a bandwagon. … If you do want to be part of the International Women’s Day conversation, enter into it in an authentic and contextual manner.”

Miller offers several do’s and don’ts. Do honor and celebrate the women that have made your brand what it is today. “There are millions of stories,” she says. “Tell them; don’t sell them.”

Also, do celebrate both well-known motivational women and those “hidden voices of women that inspire, drive, uplift and amaze,” Miller says.

Don’t, however, use the day as a dubious sales hook, she adds. “Nobody needs the ‘Celebrate International Women’s Day by using this promo code to buy more from us at a slight discount.’”

An article in Forbes suggests supporting nonprofits as one of several ways to make a difference authentically. “In many parts of the world, women are still abused, traded, mutilated, and deprived of education,” the writer states. “Honor killings, child brides, and acid attacks remain a sad reality for thousands of our global sisters. These women need our support!”

Organizations ranging from governmental departments to United Nations agencies are using social media to promote the day.

The Library of Congress is joining other federal repositories “in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.” The National Archives has posted video on its home page of a 1917 women’s suffrage march in New York City, linking to a page with articles, videos and archival information. The Smithsonian Institution links from its homepage to a range of pertinent content, such as a page about women artists.

NASA celebrates its women

NASA is commemorating both the month and the day in a variety of ways. Its Women@NASA Twitter thread promotes “ways to encourage young women and girls to learn about STEM” (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Along with tweets about contemporary scientists in the space program, NASA offers historical perspectives.

Apple is marking the day with a month of events at its retail stores, in the App Store, on Apple TV, and in Apple Books and podcast applications, TechCrunch notes. Under its “Today at Apple” event series, the company is highlighting female leaders, artists, entrepreneurs and creators.

“Notably, the U.S. App Store will feature an App of the Day and Game of the Day highlighting the work of female developers, designers and entrepreneurs every day during the month of March,” Tech Crunch states.

Fashion companies seize the day

Fashion brands are a natural for planting their flag on the issue. Notes WWD:

Tory Burch, for one is hosting a day of panels with the likes of activist Gloria Steinem, actress Ashley Judd and Time’s Up chief executive officer Tina Tchen in addition to donating 100 percent of net proceeds from a limited-edition collection to support female empowerment and entrepreneurship.

Other brands are paying homage to influential women throughout history. Contemporary fashion label La Ligne is launching pieces that include the monograms of such women, including Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo and more, and The Great is paying homage to Rosie the Riveter with a reimagined denim jumpsuit that gives a nod to the iconic figure.

Several organizations are hosting events. Womxn Talk Money, which bills itself as the first online community for women in accounting and finance, takes International Women’s Day seriously, reports founder and CEO Madeline Pratt.

The organization is hosting a panel discussion celebrating women in the profession, including a virtual conversation on how best “to encourage, empower and equip women with the tools needed to shape the working world to be more inclusive for all,” Pratt says.

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