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Diversity

Microsoft Admits That ‘Much Work’ Remains to Address Its (Lack of) Diversity

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Sometimes, bad news becomes a big snowball. A small dust-up collects a little dirt and begins rolling downhill as people stand there, watching it gain velocity as it prepares to smash the little hamlet at the base of the mountain.

When you hear Microsoft, you would think that the company itself is the snowball. This time, however, it’s the village in peril.

Last week the company introduced Windows 10 (math skills be damned). And now, America finds out that Bill Gates’ baby has grown up to become one big boys’ club.

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‘Diversity Is the New Black,’ Says Omnicom’s Tiffany R. Warren

Tiffany-Warren-articleTiffany R. Warren is Omnicom‘s senior vice president and chief diversity officer, but her work on diversity isn’t just a day job. In 2005 Warren created ADCOLOR, a non-profit devoted to promoting and paying tribute to diversity in the advertising, marketing, media, PR and entertainment industries.

For our latest So What Do You Do feature, Warren describes how ADCOLOR went from awards show to social movement, how the work of diversity officers has grown and what it takes to be an agent of change:

You have to like people. You have to like when people are hot messes and when they’re not. When they’re scared, when they fail and when they’ve failed you. You have to like every aspect of the human nature in order to be an effective change agent. We’ve had some not so good times in our industry and that’s [when] I grew the most as a professional and as a leader — during those times when people were doubting whether this industry could pull itself out of the hole of this lack of diversity.

For more from Warren, read, So What Do You Do, Tiffany R. Warren, Chief Diversity Officer for Omnicom Group?

Slammed: Atlanta Hawks’ Owner Sells Shares Over Racist Email

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The National Basketball Association just exhaled and placed Donald Sterling’s bigoted vitriol behind it, thanks largely to Steve Ballmer paying $2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers and putting Sterling out to pasture where he belongs.

And now, we discover the NBA has another racist loitering among its owner class: Bruce Levenson of the Atlanta Hawks.

Being a simpleton in 2014 is laughable enough. Being a bigoted owner in the NBA like Donald Sterling is hilarious. However, being a prejudicial xenophobe in the NBA…in ATLANTA…feels like a rejected pilot script from a bad “man turns life around” sitcom. Yet, here we are, discussing an email Levenson wrote two years ago claiming his audience (again, in ATLANTA) was “too heavily African-American.”

Not a history or geography buff, this guy.

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Barbie Plays Dress Up for Latin America

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They are the world.

Since Barbie hit the shelves in 1959, Mattel has been diligent in discovering news ways to make money from its greatest creation. Barbie has grown an extended family from different parts of the world or has entered the corporate world to capitalize on any array of wardrobe accouterments.

According to her official websiteBarbara Millicent Roberts has had close to 150 careers, represented more than 40 different nationalities and collaborated with more than 75 fashion designers. With one Barbie sold every 3 seconds somewhere in the world, she remains the world’s most popular doll and a powerhouse brand among girls of all ages.

Only one small problem: On the way to global domination, Barbie forgot that a new outfit doesn’t automatically mean a new culture … and then Mattel (may have) offended parts Latin America with a few tactful stereotypes.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt Wins Positive Press for His Perfect Definition of Feminism

proxyThe word “feminism” can be a touchy one, especially given the wildly-varying definitions out there, and celebrities often seem particularly wary of stating their allegiance (or lack-thereof) to the concept. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, however, has no such qualms.

In a recent interview with the Daily Beast that’s now gone viral, the star explained why he considers himself a feminist, and then went on to give the word one of the most clear, simple, and positive definitions we ever remember hearing.

Gordon-Levitt was asked:

I read that you consider yourself a “male feminist,” and you credit your parents who are educators and really taught you about the history of feminism. But nowadays, you have a lot of young stars coming out against being labeled a feminist.

His response (below) has both women and men singing his praises in multiple publications and all over social media: Read more

LEGO Responds to Demands, Introduces Playset Featuring Female Scientists

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Back in June, we reported that LEGO had approved production of the Research Institute set, designed by a female geochemist, which would feature a female astronomer, chemist, and paleontologist. The announcement came after public demand for equal representation of female minifigures hit an all-time high, one such request coming from a young girl named Charlotte, who wrote a letter to the company that read in part:

“I am 7 years old and I have LEGOs, but I don’t like that there are more LEGO boy people and barely any LEGO girls. Today I went to a store and saw LEGOs in two sections…All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs, but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks. I want you to make more LEGO girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun OK?!?”

Ellen Kooijman, the scientist who designed the Research Institute set, shared Charlotte’s frustration, and after pitching her idea to the company and earning 10,000 supporters, Kooijman explained on on her blog: Read more

Marvel Targets Women With Goddess Thor

thorThe Thor that we’ve all come to know — the manly blond man throwing a hammer — has undergone quite the makeover. Marvel has announced that the god Thor is now a goddess.

“While details are scarce, we now know that this new Thor was saved by her predecessor, the former male Thor, who is no longer worthy to wield Mjolnir,” writes iO9. “The only other details we have is that this #1 issue will premiere in October under the supervision of Jason Aaron and Russell Dautermann.”

Thor is one of the “big three” characters for Marvel (the other two are Iron Man and Captain America), so this is huge for the company and for the comic book world.

The move also says a lot about how Marvel is trying to grow its audience.

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Nordstrom Ads Feature Models with Disabilities, Generate Goodwill

Image via press.nordstrom.com

Fact: At least one-third of Nordstrom’s advertisements feature models of color and/or models with disabilities.

For Nordstrom, this isn’t just a commitment to diversity—it’s a commitment to accurately reflecting its shoppers. It’s also a smart move.

According to Meg O’Connell, a partner at the consulting firm Global Disability Inclusion, people with disabilities represent a significant marketing opportunity, with $225 billion in discretionary spending.

“Companies that understand this will have an advantage,” she says. “[Nordstrom] is a leader in this space and has been a long-standing supporter of disability inclusion not only in their advertising but also in employment and accessibility in their stores.”

The company has been using models with disabilities since 1997 and regularly advertises in minority publications including Essence, Latina, and Ability magazines.

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The Academy Shakes Things Up With More Diverse Oscar Membership

oscar awardThe Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences — the “Academy” that everyone thanks when they’re accepting their Oscar award — has named its list of potential new members and it’s clear they’re trying to be more diverse. This includes racial diversity, age diversity, diversity of style and diversity of national origin.

Seeming to finally take the persistent criticism that the Academy is just a group of out-of-touch, old white American men to heart, the list of actors that have been invited to join spans across all sorts of boundaries. Some famous names are Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who The Hollywood Reporter notes ticks off the “middle-aged” box at 53 years old; June Squibb, the 84-year-old actress who was nominated last year for her performance in Nebraska; Michael Fassbender; Lupita Nyong’o; Chris Rock; and Pharrell.

It will be interesting to see how the new line up changes who is handed an Oscar on the big night.

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Betty Crocker Redefines ‘Homemaker’ and Re-Brands as Champion of Marriage Equality

Notification CenterThe Betty Crocker brand released its first cookbook in 1942, targeting its tips, tricks and recipes toward the American homemaker — i.e. stay-at-home wives and mothers. Jump ahead to 2014, and the traditional idea of what an American family looks like and how a household is run no longer applies in the majority of cases, so rather than being left in the dust with its old-fashioned sentiments, Betty Crocker is not only transforming itself to embrace the diversity of the modern American family, but is actively pushing for recognition, understanding, and support for families of all kinds.

In its latest ad (after the jump), the brand states that “Marraige and family have changed more in the last 35 years than in the last 350.” For instance, “less than half of all American households contain a husband and wife; the number of same-sex couples living together in the US has increased by 80 percent since 2000; since 1965, the time dads spend with their kids has tripled; 40% of women are the primary providers for their families; and the percentage of new interracial marriages is six times what it was in 1960.”

The commercial goes on to point out, however, that every family, no matter the demographic differences, has something in common: where there is love, there is a family, where there is a family, there is a home, and “at the heart of every home is a homemaker.” The brand even acknowledges that term itself may seem outdated, but the concept actually isn’t; you don’t need to identify yourself as a homemaker to be one — if you are a loving member of a family who actively works to make your house a home, guess what? You’re a homemaker, and Betty Crocker is here to support you.

This is some seriously compelling re-definition and branding. Read more

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