How Apple, KPMG, the Ad Council and WEF Stand Up For Women


Tim Cook x Malala Fund partnership girls' education

Gender equality is high on the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where (in a first) only women will lead the conversations on-stage, while miles away the biggest scandal in U.S. Olympic history is seeing more than 140 women testify against the former USA Gymnastics team doctor. Women are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it any more.

Consider, too, the first anniversary of the global Women’s March this past weekend and Sunday night’s all-female presenters at the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards, and it’s gratifying to see women—and men—standing up for equality and taking a stand against sexism, misogyny and retrograde politics.

“Everything is at stake,” actress Jane Fonda told marchers at the Sundance Film Festival about the #TimesUp movement. “We’ve got to give it all we’ve got. Time is up!”  By no means a North American movement, both sexes marched in Rome, where Italian actress-director Asia Argento, one of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s most vocal accusers, called on women to “speak out and change things.”

Joining #TimesUp, the #MeToo movement, with roots in Hollywood, was addressed by actress Viola Davis in Los Angeles: “I am speaking today not just for the #MeToos, because I am a #MeToo,” Davis said.

“But when I raise my hand, I am aware of all the women who are still in silence, the women who are faceless, the women who don’t have the money and who don’t have the constitution and who don’t have the confidence and who don’t have the images in our media that gives them a sense of self-worth to break their silence.”

Women have become the foot soldiers and emerging leaders of a two-pronged effort, as the New York Times notes: sustained political resistance as they run for office in unheard-of numbers; and a broader cultural challenge to men’s power and privilege, embodied by the #MeToo uprising.”

Increasingly joining the foot soldiers are brands and businesses, raising their voices against divisive inequities worldwide. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the company’s partnership with Malala Yousafzai and her nonprofit organization the Malala Fund to support secondary education for girls in India and Latin America.

As the fund’s first Laureate Partner, the Malala Fund has an initial goal to support secondary education opportunities to more than 100,000 girls. The Malala Fund will also be able to double the number of grants it distributes through its Gulmakai Network that supports local educators and activists in developing countries with programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, and Nigeria.

“My dream is for every girl to choose her own future,” Yousafzai said in a statement. “I am grateful that Apple knows the value of investing in girls and is joining Malala Fund in the fight to ensure all girls can learn and lead without fear.”

Apple will help scale organizations with technology, curriculum and research into policy changes. Cook will also join the Malala Fund’s leadership council.

Released today in support of the Davos World Economic Forum, KPMG’s new video series supports female leaders worldwide, including Banco Santander Executive Chairman Ana Botin, musician Annie Lennox and Julia Gillard, Australia’s former Prime Minister, adding their voices to the commitment that #TimesUp.

Doing its part, America’s Ad Council is promoting a series of short films and PSAs that will air digitally and on television with the hashtag #ThatsHarassment. Supporting the effort: Amazon Prime Video, CBS, The CW, Fox Networks Group, Freeform, Hulu, SHOWTIME, STARZ and the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.

In collaboration with actor and producer David Schwimmer, writer and director Sigal Avin, RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and the National Women’s Law Center, the campaign’s goal is to empower victims and bystanders to speak out and provide tools for employers to create a safe work environment. One in four women faces harassment in the workplace.

“My mother, my sister, countless female colleagues and friends have all experienced some form of sexual harassment in their lifetime,” stated Schwimmer, who stars in one of the spots (as a lecherous boss).

“Now I’m a father of a young daughter and I’m angry and concerned about the rise in, and our culture’s acceptance of, totally unacceptable behavior by men towards women. Men who demean, deride, discredit, harass and assault women—no matter what their position of power—need to be held accountable.”

The films take place in various professional settings in which sexual harassment often occurs and include: “The Boss” starring Zazie Beetz and David Schwimmer, “The Coworker” starring Grace Gummer and Joseph Sikora, “The Politician” starring Emmy Rossum and Harry Lennix, “The Actor” starring Cristela Alonzo and Noah Emmerich, “The Doctor” starring Cynthia Nixon and Michael Kelly and “The Photographer” starring Anna Van Patten and Bobby Cannavale.

“Knowledge is key for change. For me, the biggest achievement of #ThatsHarassment is giving harassment a face. Taking what some consider “a grey area” and making it clear, “that’s harassment.” The fact that there’s a visual aid to clarify and demonstrate what sexual harassment is, will minimize the phenomenon,” Avin said.

As Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) told marchers this weekend, according to the Los Angeles Times: “It is women who are holding our democracy together in these dangerous times” — and increasingly, they’re supported by brands and organizations raising the conversation to the next level and adding momentum at social media scale.

One brand that found itself in the center of the debate: Hard Candy, the makeup brand known for its nail polish, filed to trademark #MeToo — but backed down after a backlash. The brand’s parent company CEO, Jerome Falic, said in a statement to Teen Vogue,

“As a brand devoted to women since its inception, Hard Candy has and will continue to support women’s rights. Hard Candy has always quietly and proudly supported a non-profit organization that directly contributes to many women’s causes. When the trademark application for #metoo was filed, one of our objectives was to bring greater awareness to this important and long overdue movement. We planned to donate 100% of all profits arising from this trademark to #metoo. Based on several public responses, we have abandoned the application. We will continue to support the work of this watershed movement and other causes that respect the dignity of women and all people.”