On March 8, McDonald's famous golden arches will be flipped upside down "in honor of the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere," according to the iconic fast-food chain's Chief Diversity Officer Wendy Lewis.
Though the arches are only being flipped to a W in one (?!) physical location in Lynwood, California, the brand's digital channels, including its social media accounts, will sport the upside down M all day on Thursday, which happens to also be International Women's Day. Moreover, Lewis noted, the day will be celebrated in more than 100 locations across the United States with employees wearing specially-designed hats and shirts bearing the upside down logo.
"We have a long history of supporting women in the workplace," the company said in a statement, noting that 6 out of 10 managers of U.S. restaurants are women. Lewis added in a statement, "From restaurant crew and management to our C-suite of senior leadership, women play invaluable roles at all levels, and together with our independent franchise owners, we're committed to their success."
Though the move to honor women is timely, McDonald's has also received some backlash for its decision to simply swap its logo, rather than pay women more or to even acknowledge its internal issues with sexual harassment.
As HuffPost reported, the company was accused in 2016 of ignoring sexual misconduct claims made by its hourly workers in at least eight states. Those claims included groping, propositioning and lewd comments.
At the time, McDonald's replied to the claims by stating, “At McDonald’s, we and our independent owner-operators share a deep commitment to the respectful treatment of everyone... There is no place for harassment and discrimination of any kind in McDonald’s restaurants or in any workplace. We take any concerns seriously and are reviewing the allegations.”
And as Eater noted, the company has been fighting against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. It has even gone so far as to sue states that attempt to raise the minimum wage. While this fight against more money will ultimately impact both men and women, women will bear the brunt of it as they make up 63.4 percent of “combined food preparation and serving workers,” which includes fast-food employees, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Eater additionally reported that service work is also already "the lowest-paid occupation for women in the U.S."
To be fair, this could just be one small step in the right direction with the brand. After all, it does have a long history of supporting the "recruitment, development, and advancement of women at all levels of the company," according to its Global Women’s Initiative, which began in 2009.
Furthermore, the burger chain offers 10 weeks of paid time off at 100% of pay following a birth, as well two weeks at 100% paid time off for paternal leave and adoption leave, the company told Glamour.
And it's not like they're the only food or beverage company to celebrate women on this day in this way. But maybe, just maybe, McDonald's and others can keep the good vibes going for women all year long, and not just celebrate us on March 8.
Update: This post has been updated with McDonalds' most current paid parental leave policy.
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