Leading Change for Gender Equality

April 25, 2018
By Fiona Carter

What a difference a year makes.

At the 9th annual Women in the World Summit this month in New York, I reflected on last year’s panel discussion.

Called “flipping the script,” the panel focused on how influencers in the advertising and entertainment businesses are increasingly rejecting out-of-touch gender narratives and replacing them with content that supports the advances of gender equality.

A year ago, I talked about the early stages of our work with the Association of National Advertisers and its Alliance for Family Entertainment’s #SeeHer movement. Together, we’re taking action to improve how women and girls are portrayed in the media and advertising.

Why? According to a study by the group, 55% of adults believe women are portrayed negatively in the media. The same study showed consumers’ intent to purchase could jump more than 30% if women were portrayed more accurately.

As one of the largest U.S. advertisers, AT&T has a real opportunity to influence how women and girls are portrayed. We’re driving real change.

In fact, we’re taking action to help eliminate all bias. We’ve made significant strides over the last year. Our ads are scoring higher on an industry-wide gender equality measure. And we’re committed to our ads accurately portraying women and girls by the end of 2018.

To tell our story, along with the stories of our employees and other leaders making a difference, we’ve joined with a set of influential partners – The Female Quotient, Makers, Unstereotype Alliance, and Women in the World.

Award-winning journalist Tina Brown founded Women in the World, which brings together 2,500 people to highlight trailblazing leaders who are breaking barriers, challenging the status quo, and bringing innovative solutions to advance humanity. It’s become one of the most visible platforms for women to share their stories and showcase the tenacity, joy and effectiveness of a rising global movement.

My colleague Melissa Arnoldi, president of Technology & Operations at AT&T, is one of these groundbreaking leaders. In a panel on the future of work, she discussed the role of artificial intelligence in transforming work and how AT&T is investing in reskilling its people for the needs of the future.

Melissa is actively helping our nearly 250,000-person organization be ready to manage through technology disruptions. A great example is taking technicians who are trained to lay copper wire and giving them data analytics and computer skills with sponsored nanodegrees and online learning courses. It’s yet another way our company operates with inclusion and compassion.

Her story, and every story I heard, reminded me of an important truth. Each of us can change the world in how we communicate with each other. Whether our work involves creating video content or crafting emails or something in between, we can portray all people accurately and respectfully.

This movement needs you, too. Please join us in leading change for gender equality.

Fiona Carter is the chief brand officer of AT&T

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