Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Nikki Haley leads the U.S. out of the UNHRC, Goldman invests in women, and P&G wants more female ad directors. Have a great Wednesday!
• Ad-ing women. Procter & Gamble set a goal at the Cannes Lions advertising festival to have women direct at least 50% of its commercials by 2023, up from 10% today.
The pledge is a direct challenge to the male-dominated agency world by the largest advertiser on Earth. The conglomerate behind brands like Pampers and Gillette spends $7 billion on ads per year.
It’s also reminiscent of the initiative co-convened by UN Women and Unilever at Cannes last year to address and eliminate stereotypes in advertising. P&G participated in that too, as did brands like Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Diageo, and AT&T. It was announced after Unilever research found that only 3% of ads featured women in a leadership or managerial role. And after a UN Women report on women’s economic empowerment identified breaking stereotypes as the first of seven drivers of change needed to increase women’s economic participation worldwide.
But P&G made it clear its push toward gender equality isn’t just about changing social norms. Women’s empowerment is already a focal point of P&G’s marketing strategy around the world—its SK-II skincare brand challenged the pressure on Chinese women to marry, while its “Generation of Firsts” campaign celebrated Saudi women’s newfound freedoms—and the company says it’s working. For instance, it launched a “Share the Load” campaign in India that urges men to help with laundry, and the company says sales are up 60%, according to Bloomberg, which didn’t specify where that increase took place.
“Some of P&G’s best performing brands have the most gender-equal campaigns,” P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard said. In announcing the new commitment, he cited a study by the #SeeHer initiative that found that gender equal programming can improve brand trust by 10% and boost sales growth by some 20%.
“It’s clear that promoting gender equality is not only a force for good,” he said, “it’s a force for growth.” And as we’ve seen with shareholder pressure on corporate diversity, it’s sometimes the latter that matters most.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• U.S. vs. UN. The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday as UN Ambassador Nikki Haley called the group “hypocritical and self-serving” and claiming it “makes a mockery of human rights.” The move was largely expected but struck a nerve amid the controversy over the Trump administration’s policy of separating immigrant families and children at the U.S. border, which the United Nations has strongly condemned.
• Golden girls. Goldman Sachs Group has rolled out a new program to fund more female entrepreneurs and investors. It said yesterday it will invest $500 million worth of firm and client capital in businesses and financial products run by women through an intiative called “Launch with GS.”
• Oprah harvests the green. Weight Watchers International stock is likely on Oprah Winfrey’s list of favorite things at the moment. Shares have more than doubled this year, increasing Winfrey’s fortune by $427 million. The spike has launched the media mogul onto the Bloomberg Billionaires ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. She’s the first black female entrepreneur to land there.
• Peak Peek. Peek, a software vendor for tour operators that’s led by CEO Ruzwana Bashir, has raised a $23 million Series B funding round. It plans to use the funds to expand in Europe and China.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Jill Ader has been elected chair of Egon Zehnder. Change.org has hired Bec Wilson as its new vice president of North America
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• What a champ. A Colombian TV reporter named Julieth Gonzalez showed unbelievable poise when she was groped by a stranger as she reported on the World Cup for a German news station. As she went live, a man ran up and grabbed her, groping her breast and kissing her cheek. “We do not deserve this treatment,” she wrote after the incident. “We are equally valuable and professionals. I share the joy of football, but we must identify the limits of affection and harassment.”
• A ‘wild’ ride. Whitney Wolfe Herd, founder of dating site Bumble, says she received threats and stationed police at her office after the company’s March decision to ban pictures of guns on its platforms. “I was getting emails saying ‘I’m gonna show my glock and my you know what [genitals],’ with literally a picture of the glock and the other thing,” she said. “It was, ‘We’re coming for you, we know where your office is.’ Our team members were getting harassed. It’s been really wild.”
• Making workdays work. Anna Auerbach, co-founder of Werk Enterprises Inc., wants to reinvent the workday by helping businesses build executive-track jobs with flexible formats. She says companies are throwing billions of dollars at the shortage of women leaders, but they’re not considering one of the basics: time. “They’ve rethought everything—furniture layouts, communication, branding—but not about why the workday is thought of as 9-to-6,” says Auerbach.
• Legal limits. The New York Times asks if statutes of limitations for rape should be abolished. Capping how much time can elapse between a crime and its prosecution is standard practice, but advocates have pushed hard for the end of such limits for felony sexual assaults, arguing they prevent scores of sexual assault cases from being prosecuted despite persuasive evidence or a confession.
New York Times