HeForShe
U.N. Women

Pitching Gender Equality on the Job

December 17, 2015 – Seattle, Washington, USA

When Michael Bacon, a buyer for a large online shoe retailer, isn’t pitching deals, he pitches equality. His best prop? The HeForShe logo on his computer.

One day, Michael was making a sales presentation when someone saw the HeForShe wallpaper on his desktop and asked what it meant. The question opened the door for Michael to explain the movement and discuss why gender equality is important to him. Caught off-guard, one co-worker asked, “I thought you had to be a woman to be a feminist.”


I hate to break it to you, but it sounds like you’re a feminist, too.


Michael explained that the “F” word isn’t bad, it simply means you support gender equality. He then asked, “Do you believe in gender equality?” When the co-worker replied that he did, Michael replied, “I hate to break it to you, but it sounds like you’re a feminist, too.”

With this smart, simple conversation starter, Michael doesn’t find the topic of gender equality a tough sell. “Having the HeForShe logo on my computer has given me multiple opportunities to talk about my beliefs at the workplace in a non-evasive way,” he says. After a quick explanation of the movement and why he supports it, Michael invites his conversation partners, mostly men, to visit the HeForShe website if they’d like to learn more.

Michael learned about HeForShe through an article about Emma Watson's speech in September, 2014. “Her speech resonated with me and I wanted to learn more,” he says. “I’ve always had the belief that all people should be treated fairly and with respect, regardless of race or gender. It was just common sense. The HeForShe campaign, however, reminded me that the way I feel isn’t the norm and that not expressing my belief was a form of silent acceptance.”

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