This year a group of global bankers picked a fairly controversial theme for their women’s rights forum – men.
That’s right, executives at Deutsche Bank in Germany decided that their annual conference, which is supposed to focus on the rights of women in business, should be titled ‘Men Matter’.
Ostensibly, the idea was rather than focusing on the role women can play to achieve gender equality in business, they would instead look at what men can do to help, perhaps inspired by the UN Women’s HeForShe movement which Emma Watson has played a major part in.In theory, it’s not a terrible line of thinking but, wow, was this executed poorly.
Trying her best to salvage the idea from the depths of despair, event co-chair Antonia Cowdry said:
It may seem paradoxical for a Women in Business conference to focus on men, but by turning our attention this year to the role they can play in improving gender diversity, we want to reach decision-makers who previously hadn’t considered these issues.
Unsurprisingly, there was quite a bit of backlash to the event on Twitter…
Today's fun, @DeutscheBank is live tweeting angsty thoughts from men about women, at a women in business conference called 'Men Matter'.
— Lady FOHF (@LadyFOHF) September 22, 2015
— zatapatique (@zatapatique) September 22, 2015
— mcbc (@mcbc) September 22, 2015
The bank then fired back with a couple of tweets of their own…
— Deutsche Bank (@DeutscheBank) September 22, 2015
— DeutscheBank Careers (@careersDB) September 22, 2015
So, basically, the ultimate message of the whole thing was a positive one – that it takes both men and women to achieve true equality and diversity within the workplace.
Still, guys, maybe pick a better title and hashtag for next year’s event? You know, one which doesn’t have so many understandably negative connotations. Just a thought…