PayPal: This flyer is wrong on too many levels

The gender equality panel that set off a firestorm

Sarah Nadav
Apr 21, 2016 · 2 min read

This showed up in my twitter feed this morning. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Paypal is doing a panel called “Gender Equality and Inclusion in the Workplace” through something called “Unity: women@paypal” Clearly they have good intentions- so it is mind blowing that they managed to do it in such an offensive way.

I don’t know the context, which is important. I don’t even know who took the picture of it or if it was sandwiched between two other flyers that had all women speakers on the flyers. It seems like part of a series, and it seems like it’s an effort to improve the workplace for women at Paypal. That is a great thing.

I am in full support of getting men talking about diversity and women in tech, and working to change and make things better. That is also a great thing.

So this comes down to the issue of optics. Optics are important because a flyer should be able to stand alone (out of context) and not offend people. Also, what people see and read is what they are going to react to- and this flyer did everything wrong.

First of all, if you are going to put together a panel on “How men and women can partner to achieve a better workplace”, then you really have to have women on the panel.

It begs the questions:

Why is this panel only men?

Why aren’t there senior female leaders on the panel?

Do they even have senior female leaders? (because this flyer makes it seem like they don’t)

And then- equally important-

WHY IS THIS PINK?

Because when you choose pink, have conversations on twitter that look like this:

Grown women don’t like pink. It’s not a thing with us. In fact, it is annoying and infantilizing.

And then there is this…

Here is a look at the flyer itself:

*if you or someone you love is in debt, check out Civilize and maybe we can help. As always, you can find me here or on twitter @sarahnadav

Athena Talks

A hub of conversation to help young women mature, budding professionals become leaders and leaders become advocates for equality.

Sarah Nadav

Written by

Behavioral Economist, a woman who can’t even, ceviche & wine

Athena Talks

A hub of conversation to help young women mature, budding professionals become leaders and leaders become advocates for equality.

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