International Women’s Day is upon us — a fact I failed to realize until about two hours ago, probably because no one men have Venmo’ed me $15 in deference to the gender pay gap, or written broadly appreciative messages about my kind in the sky. Sure, there are concrete steps employers could take to show women that their work is both valuable and appreciated — saying yes when they ask for deserved raises; not punishing them for being hilarious in the workplace or having kids; offering them the same salaries as their male peers, etc., etc. — but have you considered making your point with a grand, stunt-y gesture that grabs you headlines today but generates no measurable change in the long run? Below, a few suggestions to help you hone your message.
Say it with skywriting.
Perhaps you thought I was being facetious with the above suggestion that someone should honor me on this day, my day, with a sky-written note of admiration. I was not. According to its Twitter account, Old Navy may actually have done this, and although I am skeptical — was there a moment today when the sky over our trash city wasn’t murky gray; did I just miss it? — I am also floored by the scale of its sentiment, if in fact the photo is authentic. I feel less seen than watched — wow!
Say it with a celebrity.
A moment I did not miss, and will in fact treasure forever, was the moment when Mark Ruffalo hopped on Twitter to wish us all a happy International Women’s Day. “A special thanks to my wife, Sunny, and my mom, and all the women in my life. Love you guys. Love you, my little daughters. Have a great day,” he said to all of us, his little daughters.
If you are a man struggling to voice your blanket support for womanhood on this meaningful day, remember: You can hire celebrities to deliver video messages to pretty much anyone, thanks to a strange service called Cameo. Unfortunately, Mark Ruffalo isn’t on Cameo, but you know who is? Adrian Grenier, who has always sort of reminded me of a young Mark Ruffalo frozen in time.
Nothing says “you’re the best!” like breasts.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, a PR company called 72andSunny Amsterdam unleashed “a flock of giant buoyant breasts” on the city’s canals, on account of feminism. Maybe you could do something like this — presenting your colleagues with a boob flotilla seems like a surefire way to make them feel celebrated and definitely not objectified or harassed.
Flip the script.
Maybe in the past, your company has leaned on sexist tropes in its sales and marketing tactics, or maybe your company has habitually ignored frequent complaints about workplace sexual harassment while also refusing to pay employees a living wage. Maybe you could make amends by flipping your double-arched sign upside down so that it resembles a W, for “WOMEN,” whom you LOVE. Or maybe you could rerelease some of your old advertisements, updated to feature white ladies who exemplify Barbie beauty standards, doing thoroughly modern things like ordering takeout and drinking beer alone, because it’s 2019, damn it!
Dock the men’s pay by ~25 percent and redistribute the difference.
To my knowledge, no companies have yet attempted this one, but it’s a winning concept, a really actionable stunt that screams “ally.” Women make between 53 and 85 cents on the white male dollar; on this magical day, which exists to highlight the still-gaping gender disparity in our earnings, why not bring the men down to our level and see how they like it? There are plenty of things you, the employer, could do with those savings: You could use them to provide courtesy menstrual products in all the bathrooms, or simply divvy them up amongst the women in your office. There are many options; I trust you’ll find the one that works for you.
Fire all the men.
Who said that?