Jan 252010

We have a bit of a victory in the protest of Thomson Reuters and Aurora’s reference to InternationalWomensDay.com as the official IWD site.  The word ‘official’ is no longer in their metatags.  However the response I received this morning from Julia Fuller who is their Global Head of Corporate Responsibility still leaves quite a lot to be desired. Her letter and my response follow below.

I have no idea how many of you answered my original call to write to Aurora and Thomson Fuller regarding this usurpation of IWD for commercial gain, but apparently enough so that they are listening.  Please please keep those letters up (Please write to InternationalWomensDay.com here and to Reuters here)–they are listening!  In the meantime, we continue to call for a boycott of the site.

Dear Ms Marshall

Thank you for your emails.   We have now looked into this matter.

The IWD website refers to Thomson Reuters as Global Partner and the website states: “The International Women’s Day website provides a free service to women around the world wanting to share and promote their IWD activity, videos, opinions and ideas. Please feel free to submit gender-related items for the site that you consider relevant and useful.” The word “official” is not used at any point on the website although it did appear in a piece of background html code.   This word has now been removed from that background code.

It is clear that the IWD site does not purport to be “official”, but merely to act as a forum for individuals and organisations around the world to share and promote IWD activity, opinions and ideas. Thomson Reuters is wholly committed to equality in the workplace, transparency and accuracy and is proud to be working with Aurora and other individuals and organisations around the world to develop talent, encourage workplace diversity and to actively support organisations that share our commitment to these values.    Thomson Reuters involvement with the IWD site extends to the provision of news feeds which contain gender relevant content around a number of themes including science and innovation, justice, health and business and finance.  Hence our partnership is more refined than simply posting irrelevant Reuters news stories onto the site.

Please note, that Glenda Stone is not an employee or contractor at Reuters, but guest blogs on reuters.com, where it clearly states that her opinions are her own and not those of the company

To read more about our ongoing commitment to equality and diversity, please see:http://careers.thomsonreuters.com/LifeAtThomsonReuters/Default.aspx?id=128



Julia Fuller
Global Head of Corporate Responsibility
Thomson Reuters

And my response:

Dear Ms. Fuller,

I appreciate your prompt reply and that the word ‘official’ is no longer part of your code.  However, your code still includes the following meta tag:

<meta name=”DESCRIPTION” content=”The International Women’s Day website”/>

InternationalWomensDay.com is not The site, there simply is no such thing and it is an affront to usurp that  title from the thousands of women  that work on IWD awareness throughout the world.  The word ‘the’ should also be removed from your tags.

As to your assertion that, ” Thomson Reuters involvement with the IWD site extends to the provision of news feeds which contain gender relevant content around a number of themes including science and innovation, justice, health and business and finance.  Hence our partnership is more refined than simply posting irrelevant Reuters news stories onto the site.”– I would disagree.  Fully half of the tabs at the top of the page are to Reuters content. Here are some of the stories linked to on your business page.  I have no idea what these have to do with International Women’s Day or why these are considered gender-relevant:

Stock futures rebound after sharp 3-day selloff <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6030ZW20100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 07:16:49 -0500
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures pointed to a 1 percent rise on Monday after the worst 3-day slide in 10 months, which came on fears that the White House plan to curb bank risk-taking would cut profits.

Wal-Mart cuts 11,200 jobs at Sam’s Club <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60N1OF20100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 06:43:59 -0500
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Sam’s Club, the warehouse club division of Wal-Mart Stores Inc is cutting roughly 11,200 jobs, or about 10 percent of its workforce, as it outsources in-store product demonstrations and eliminates positions used to recruit new business members.

China steps up defense of Internet controls <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60L1DK20100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 07:05:35 -0500
BEIJING (Reuters) – China widened its attack against U.S. criticisms of Internet censorship on Monday, raising the stakes in a dispute that has put Google in the middle of a political quarrel between the two global powers.

Italy’s Ferrero rules out bidding for Cadbury <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60O17I20100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 03:30:08 -0500
LONDON (Reuters) – Italy’s Ferrero has ruled out a rival bid for Cadbury Plc, clearing the way for Kraft Foods to complete its 11.7 billion-pound ($18.9 billion) proposed takeover of the British confectioner.

Tishman venture abandons Stuyvesant complex: report <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60O1M820100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 04:09:40 -0500
(Reuters) – A group led by Tishman Speyer Properties has decided to give up the sprawling Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town apartment complex in Manhattan to its creditors in the collapse of one of the most high-profile deals of the real-estate boom, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

AIG restricts use of corporate aircraft <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60O2CF20100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 07:00:19 -0500
(Reuters) – American International Group Inc said it has restricted the personal use of corporate aircraft by its executives, other than its chief executive.

Obama plan could hurt U.S. banks: Swiss banker <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60O12320100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 02:02:19 -0500
ZURICH (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s proposals to split traditional banking activities from riskier areas will harm U.S. banks without international co-ordination, a prominent Swiss banker said in Monday’s Financial Times.

Shell CEO says to scale back on oil sands: report <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60O00620100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 03:47:31 -0500
LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell is slowing its expansion into high-cost Canadian tar sands and will in future focus on exploration, rather than expensive, capital-intensive projects, Chief Executive Peter Voser said in Monday’s edition of the Financial Times.

China economist sees 2010 GDP up 9.5 percent <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60O08M20100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Sun, 24 Jan 2010 21:11:03 -0500
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s gross domestic product growth is likely to grow about 9.5 percent in 2010, largely driven by strong domestic consumption and corporate investment, a government researcher said in remarks published on Monday.

Oil steadies below $75, close to one-month low <http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5B30OK20100125?feedType=RSS&amp;feedName=businessNews&amp;rpc=6>
Mon, 25 Jan 2010 06:24:45 -0500
LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices steadied below $75 a barrel on Monday, after slipping toward a one-month low on continued market unease over possible tighter Chinese monetary policy and a U.S. proposal to toughen bank trading rules.

The other pages of links are equally irrelevant to IWD.  On your page about jobs, there is no source information, just data that is irrelevant if people don’t know where it came from.  There are a number of excellent sources for news stories that are relevant to IWD and women’s human rights.  The Feminist Peace Network blog references this sort of story on a regular basis and I would be happy to help you build a database of relevant news sources.

Finally, I am wondering if you consulted with any of the major women’s organizations that work with global women’s human rights organizations before you organized this page.  While developing talent and workplace diversity are important, they are only a part of what IWD is about and for a website like this to truly work there should certainly be some sort of advisory board that reflects non-commercial interests within the global women’s advocacy community.  I see no evidence of that here.

I hope that you will give this matter the further consideration it deserves.


Lucinda Marshall, Director
Feminist Peace Network

There you have it–please keep writing to them.  IWD is our day and this sort of cause-branding is reprehensible and unacceptable and it needs to stop.  If you do write, please send a copy to fpn@feministpeacenetwork.org.

 January 25, 2010  Posted by on January 25, 2010

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