This online tool aims to get pledges toward gender parity

The 50/50 Day Action Pledge tool connects users with steps they can take to promote a more gender-balanced world.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Erin Carson
2 min read

Thursday is 50/50 day.

50/50 Day

Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain asks people watching her new movie to imagine what the world would be like if it were gender-balanced.

In the voiceover to her film, titled "Why I Pledge 50/50," Shlain discusses gender representation in government, in business and at home. The four-minute film touches on parental leave and better work hours, common complaints for women trying to balance work and motherhood. 

"Imagine how those changes would shift our culture as a whole and change your life, or someone you love," she said.

Shlain co-founded 50/50 Day, as a dedication to achieving gender balance. It happens on Thursday, April 26, and will be celebrated with more than 35,000 events in 52 countries. They'll be held in schools, company offices and museums, with live streams available to those who can't be present. 

This year marks 50/50 Day's second anniversary. The organizers, along with digital agency April Six, have created a new web app called the 50/50 Day Action Pledge tool for pledging support to gender parity. The pledge comes in a variety of forms, from learning more to offering to help someone.

Gender balance, or the lack thereof, is a familiar issue, particularly in tech. Annual diversity reports show the industry is largely white and male, and the numbers of women and minorities dwindle in technical roles. 

In the broader world, we've seen movements like the Women's March and #MeToo increase the conversation around inequalities in modern society.  

In the pledge tool, you can select a description of yourself based on your occupation or age. From there you select a topic from a list topics that give you options for pursuing equity. If you click on the media topic, for example, you get five choices, including the opportunity to pledge to read at least two books by the end of the year written by a woman or underrepresented group. If you choose the work topic, you can pledge to bring up flexible work and paid family leave options with your employer. At home, you could discuss what consent means with your partner and children, if you have them.

The idea is that no matter who you are, there's something you can do.

"This issue is so huge and so pervasive in society and we wanted to empower people to feel like they have the agency wherever they are in life or society, they can work toward making the situation better," Shlain said.

And if you're worried you're going to make a pledge and promptly forget about it, Shlain said participants get an email with resources related to their pledge and some reminders along the way.

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