It’s been an interesting year for women. In Saudi Arabia, women won the right to drive; in America, a record number of female senators and representatives were sworn into Congress; and countries across the globe were impacted by the #MeToo movement. Yet in spite of all this progress, women are still fighting for equal rights, particularly their right to choose. So far this year, nine U.S. states have passed bills to severely restrict abortion access, including Alabama banning it. But women — and men — are fighting back. Hundreds of male CEOs have publicly pledged to support women’s’ reproductive rights, and we are here for it.
The initiative, entitled Don’t Ban Equality, encourages companies to make a stand against policies that hinder people’s health and/or independence. “Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers,” the pledge reads. “It impairs our ability to build diverse and inclusive workforce pipelines, recruit top talent across the states, and protect the well-being of all the people who keep our businesses thriving day in and out.”
The pledge has been signed by more than 300 business leaders — both men and women — from companies like from H&M, Slack, Twitter, Atlantic Records, Warby Parker, MAC Cosmetics, Lush Handmade Cosmetics and Ben & Jerry’s, to name a few.
Restricting access to abortion threatens the health, independence, and economic stability of everyone, including ALL workers.
— ACLU (@ACLU) June 10, 2019
Of course, this isn’t the first time businesses have pushed for gender equality. In 2018, the New York Times ran a full page ad affirming abortion as a human and constitutional right. “For too long, corporate America has been largely silent on speaking up for sexual and reproductive health and rights,” the letter read. “That must change.” However, that initiative was only backed by seven CEOs, all of which were women.
The good news is change may be coming. Politicians are working to rollback these draconian bans, and Hollywood is pushing back too. Netflix, Disney, WarnerMedia, AMC, NBC, CBS and Showtime are boycotting and/or considering boycotting states which limit a woman’s right to choose. And while the impact of their actions — and the Don’t Ban Equality movement — is unclear, many (including this author) are hopeful.