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Here’s how companies are exploiting International Women’s Day for corporate gain

People are cringing at corporations that are using hashtags as a branding opportunity on International Women’s Day.

Each year, International Women’s Day is given a hashtag by internationalwomensday.com, ranging from #PressForProgress in 2018, to #EachForEqual in 2020, and #BreakTheBias this year.

But the greasy mitts of corporations have latched onto these tags after seeing an opportunity for a social media PR stunt that will win a few clients.

#BreakTheBias
Credit: International Women’s Day

To give you a bit of context; International Women’s Day began in 1911 and not long after, the initiative was adopted by socialist women, campaigning for better working conditions.

So it’s incredibly ironic for major businesses (owned by white men) to run campaigns with these hashtags, on a day that can be traced back to protests against them.

While they’re not technically a business, one of the more tone deaf campaigns in recent years came from The Police Force of Northern Ireland. An Instagram post which has now been removed read “Today we celebrated #iwd2020. This year’s theme is #eachforequal. Female colleagues nominated male colleagues who have supported them during their career.”

Yikes. Safe to say they slightly missed the mark on that one.

Author Clementine Ford has called out corporate attempts to “use IWD to celebrate men and ‘all they do for women,'” writing on an Instagram story, “What these hashtags and corporate events do is provide comfort to the same men who benefit from inequity.”

The hashtags make men look like they’re doing something to #BreakTheBias, meanwhile fewer women run large Australian companies than men named John. Yet they’re the same men that will tell you women have equal opportunity.

You can read more about the problems caused by these hashtags in this amazing NITV article.