On Thursday, Apple proudly proclaimed that it would be “celebrating International Women’s Day throughout March”. It said that it would highlight “the stories and work of female developers, musicians, artists, photographers and entrepreneurs.”
As I reported, it partnered with Girls Who Code to give 90,000 girls and club facilitators the opportunity to learn how to use its language, Swift. It is also going to run a series of exclusive, female led sessions in its retail stores around the world. A lot of this sounds great and it is also not in the least beat surprising from a proudly progressive firm like Apple.
Earned the Right for Equality
There was though one part of the International Women’s Day announcement that left me a little stunned. It came from Apple Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson. She said: “Women have earned the opportunity to have our ideas shape the future.”
Earned the opportunity? Surely, gender-equality of opportunity is a human right? It is therefore not something to be earned.
For a company that has done so much to promote human rights, including regularly advocating equality for women, people of color, and the LGBT community, that comment really is a misfire. I was amazed it got through what is no doubt an extensive sign-off process.
Apple Supporting Women in Tech
I believe it is really important that big tech companies continue to work to make their workforce more diverse. Doing so leads to better products and services for us all. It is also the right thing to, not something to be earned. More often than not, Apple seems to get this. As well as its March events, it supports female entrepreneurs with its excellent Entrepreneur Camp initiative, for example
The comment seems to me to be a legitimate error. But Apple should take a moment to understand how it ended up saying something like that in a piece of corporate communications. Let’s hope next International Women’s Day as well as doing great events, Apple is a bit more careful with its language.