Starting this week, JP Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) customers visiting ATMs in New York and Los Angeles will be greeted by messages of gender equality.
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The largest U.S. bank by assets and title sponsor of UN Women’s HeForShe campaign will display banners through March, which marks Women’s History Month, and following International Women’s Day this past Sunday, in honor of the HeForShe solidarity movement.
The fuchsia- and gray-colored banners read: “Gender equality is not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue that benefits everyone.” Customers visiting the more than 2,000 machines across the two U.S. cities are urged to take action against inequalities women and girls face worldwide.
“In keeping with the innovative approach of the campaign, we wanted to bring this important dialogue to unexpected spaces,” Elizabeth Nyamayaro, senior adviser to the executive director of UN Women, told FOXBusiness.com.
One of the core objectives of HeForShe, Nyamayaro explained, is to raise awareness about gender equality and provide a platform through which men and boys can also identify with the issue. The campaign, for which actress Emma Watson is an ambassador, enlists men and boys as advocates for the cause.
“When the UN Women reached out to us, we didn’t hesitate, it just made so much sense,” Kristin Lemkau, JPM chief marketing officer, told FOXBusiness.com. “More men than women are in positions of influence, and equality can’t happen without their advocacy. And when you see how many men have stood up and supported HeForShe or #LeanInTogether, it’s clear they want a voice.”
Lemkau said she believes gender equality is the “single-most important” issue that can spur economic growth around the globe. “The data is overwhelming on this -- women drive economic growth and social progress,” Lemkau said.
In the past 30 years, the number of women in paid wage and salary employment worldwide has hovered around 55% (compared to 82% workforce participation among men), and women still earn on average ten to 30% less than men do, according to recent findings from the No Ceilings Full Participation Report. And while all developing regions have achieved almost full gender parity in primary education, disparity is widening as soon as they hit secondary school levels, as listed in the Beijing Declaration’s 12 Critical Areas.
Last week, Kiva, Indiegogo and Pozible also participated in separate campaigns last week to make funding accessible for women, illustrating the “Make It Happen” theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. The Indiegogo Women’s Day initiative raised over $2.2 million.
As for JP Morgan Chase, in addition to their support of HeForShe, the bank has pledged to match employee donations of up to $150,000 in total through March 31 to three organizations -- Corporation for Enterprise Development, Girls Inc. and UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality --, which support women’s economic empowerment.
“I have a daughter and I have a son. They’re young and they haven’t yet figured out that boys and girls can be treated very differently,” Lemkau said. “I can only wish that the world changes fast enough that they don’t have to.”