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Occupations like ‘fireman’ have evolved to be called ‘firefighter’, and ‘policeman’ to ‘police officer’ – but it seems an investor’s remark, perceived to be sexist at Google’s recent annual shareholders’ meeting, has prompted a strong response from Googlers,
When one investor wanted to ask chief financial officer Ruth Porat a question, he addressed it to “the lady CFO.” He then directed his second question for Alphabet SVP of corporate development, David Drummond, as “Mr. Drummond,” according to a Business Insider report.
Although Porat answered his question without acknowledging the remark, another shareholder, Sonen Capital’s Danielle Ginach, called him out a few questions later: “I am sorry to put another shareholder on the spot,” she said. “But Ms. Porat is the CFO, not the lady CFO.”
This incident has reportedly led to about 800 Google employees from more than 20 countries to append their job titles, and email signatures, with the word ‘Lady’, in protest of workplace sexism.
They also marked out June 16 and 17 as “Lady Day”, as reported in Business Insider.
According to lady partner operations manager” for shopping at Google, Meg Mason, the campaign has been a subtle yet powerful tool for conveying the company’s dislike for sexist notions in its office environment.
In a statement to USA Today, Mason said “I wanted to do something fun and ‘Googley’ that allowed us all to stand together, and to show that someone’s gender is entirely irrelevant to how they do their job.”
“It’s really inspiring to have women leaders like Ruth to look up to and I hope that by seeing this, women will continue to push themselves,” said Anya Estrov, lady senior business lead at Google.
The job title changes have gone beyond women employees, adopted by staffers like Bob Jung, lady director of Software Engineering, who reportedly emailed his team to encourage them to change titles.