To be totally fair, PayPal panel hosts later said they didn’t mean for it to happen this way. An all-male panel discussion on gender equality scheduled for Wednesday, April 27 at PayPal headquarters raises questions on that very topic, as first reported by NBC news. First impressions aren’t always accurate, but they certainly do last.
A group called Unity, Women@PayPal is hosting the event as part of its Unity Speaker Series. The title, according to a widely published flyer is, “‘Gender Equality and Inclusion in the Workplace.” The flyer then reads, “Please join us for a discussion with our senior male leaders … about how men and women can partner to achieve a better workplace.” Next are listed the names and photos of five males from PayPal. Let’s see, five senior leaders talking about gender equality, all of whom are male. Oops.
It turns out part of the problem, according to the hosting group anyway, is a mistake with the flyer. The full title of the program (which was not printed) is “‘Gender Equality and Inclusion in the Workplace: a Conversation with our Male Allies.” Someone didn’t realize that the second part was missing. But does that make it any better?
Unity, Women@PayPal President Nolwenn Godard later stated, “Unfortunately the full title and the intention of the panel did not make it on to the initial posters that have been subject of commentary.” The purpose of the panel was to make it clear that women aren’t alone in the effort toward gender equality and the panel was set up to show how men in leadership positions at PayPal were on board, according to subsequent reporting in The Guardian.
Nolwenn has asked to moderate the panel and posted on Twitter that, “As a woman leader at PayPal, I’m proud of steps PayPal has taken to help promote gender equality in the workplace. This panel is intended to emphasize that women and men need to work together to advance this cause.”
Perhaps if the original flyer had included the subtitle, it wouldn’t have been singled out for unwelcome attention to what seemed a confused effort toward a solution for gender inequality. We won’t know, because most people (including this writer) got the immediate impression that the message was widely missing its mark.