After fumbling with that glass ceiling all too long, women are starting to gain some serious support among business and tech companies.
Google, Politico and the Tory Burch Foundation have announced a partnership to create Women Rule, a programming and event series that highlights female leaders, their experiences and their advice to their female peers.
The initiative will produce a four-part series in Washington, D.C., to be streamed online via a Women Rule media hub that will also sell Women Rule apparel, with the proceeds going to charities, including the Tory Burch Foundation.
“It is time to have an open discussion about the unique issues women face with our next generation of female leaders,” said Susan Molinari, VP Government Relations and Public Policy, Google, in a press release. The D.C. events willinclude members of Congress, business leaders, entrepreneurs and administration officials—all the peices of the puzzle needed to "examine the steps women leaders are taking to effect change—from spurring a movement to passing legislation."
Reminiscent of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" book and campaign, Women Rule directly addresses “a lopsided presence of men in leadership positions, especially in technology," TechCrunch notes.
As of late, Google, Yahoo and other companies have come under fire for excluding women from executive roles and disregarding the constraints of family life, as when Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer ended the company's work-from-home program, deemed a blow to working parents.
Recent reports have accused Merrill Lynch of telling female employees to "flirt with and compliment male co-workers," as part of a training program where women were expected to answer phone calls, maintain “perky,” and “bubbly” personalities and attend Dress for Success meetings, none of which their male counterparts were expected to do. The most important part of training, however, was reading a book called Seducing the Boys Club: Uncensored Tactics From a Woman at the Top.
While Sandberg’s LeanIn.org is hoping to "change the conversation" around female leadership, Women Rule is extending tendrils to small business loans, mentoring programs and entrepreneurial education through the Tory Burch Foundation, who, along with partner Accion, will provide micro-loans ranging from $500 to $50,000 to low-and moderate-income individuals, primarily minorities and women.
“More so now than ever, women are driving the conversation in the political, business and advocacy arenas,” said Kim Kingsley, COO Politico. “Women Rule is meant to recognize those women and share the innovative ways they are influencing some of the nation’s most important issues.”