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Published in: Journal of Business Ethics 3/2022

18-02-2021 | Original Paper

Is Femvertising the New Greenwashing? Examining Corporate Commitment to Gender Equality

Authors: Yvette Sterbenk, Sara Champlin, Kasey Windels, Summer Shelton

Published in: Journal of Business Ethics | Issue 3/2022

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Abstract

This study examined the potential for a new area of corporate social responsibility (CSR) washing: gender equality. Companies are increasingly recognized for advertisements promoting gender equality, termed “femvertisements.” However, it is unclear whether companies that win femvertising awards actually support women with an institutionalized approach to gender equality. A quantitative content analysis was performed assessing company leadership team listings, annual reports, CSR reports, and CSR websites of 61 US-based companies (31 award winners and 30 non-winning competitors) to compare the prevalence of internal and external gender-equality CSR activities of companies that have (versus have not) won femvertising awards. When controlling for number of employees and annual revenue, award-winning companies committed to more internal efforts that support women than non-award-winning companies. However, no significant differences were found in the number of external efforts or representation in female leadership between companies with and without award-winning femvertisements. Overall, a majority of award-winning companies (81%) engaged in less than ten of the possible 23 gender-equality CSR activities, suggesting these companies’ female empowerment commercials were often not in line with their broader CSR activities. While more research is needed in this area, we propose the term “fempower-washing” to describe CSR-washing in the context of gender equality.
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Metadata
Title
Is Femvertising the New Greenwashing? Examining Corporate Commitment to Gender Equality
Authors
Yvette Sterbenk
Sara Champlin
Kasey Windels
Summer Shelton
Publication date
18-02-2021
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Journal of Business Ethics / Issue 3/2022
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN: 1573-0697
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04755-x

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