McDonald’s cares about women so much it’s flipping its arches to make a ‘W’

Because nothing says "feminism" like refusing to pay your female workers a living wage.

CREDIT: Tim Boyle/Getty Images
CREDIT: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

When it comes to honoring women in the workforce, you’d be hard pressed to find a more woke corporation than McDonald’s.

Women working at the fast food giant can expect to take home an average of $380 a week, according to a 2015 report by the U.S. Department of Labor. That’s an amount so low that it was designated “poverty-level” wages by researchers at University of California Berkeley. McDonald’s has also repeatedly ignored complaints of serious workplace sexual harassment and refused to support workers’ demands for a $15 minimum wage. The company’s male CEO also earns approximately $74 for every $1 its lowest-ranked employee, who is statistically likely to be female, does.

None of that matters now, though, because McDonald’s has taken the bold step of supporting gender equality by flipping 100 of it’s gleaming yellow arches (and all of them on its digital channels) to form a ‘W’ for International Women’s Day.

“We flipped our iconic arches for International Women’s Day in honor of the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere and especially in our restaurants,” Wendy Lewis, McDonald’s chief diversity officer, explained in a statement. “Women play invaluable roles at all levels and together with our independent franchise owners we’re committed to their success.”

McDonald’s isn’t the only corporation showing off how progressive it’s become this week. After years of allowing misogynistic content to fester on its platform, and recently admitting that it has really no idea what to do about it, Twitter launched the hashtag #HereWeAre on Monday to help celebrate International Women’s Day.


“I heard a woman becomes herself the first time she speaks without permission,” the snazzy one-minute video begins, seemingly immune to the blinding irony of women having spent years complaining about harassment on the platform only to be ignored or offered temporary fixes to the problem.

But that’s not all — there’s Uber as well. The ride-sharing company lost its license to operate in London, one of its biggest overseas markets, last year because of a “lack of corporate responsibility.” According to Transport for London, one of the company’s key problems was its “approach to reporting serious criminal offences,” specifically sexual assaults. A 2016 investigation by the Sun newspaper found 32 cases of female passengers reporting sexual assaults by Uber drivers over a year. The company was heavily criticized by London’s Metropolitan police for not reporting a driver who had sexually assaulted a passenger; the driver later went on to attack another women.


Uber’s former CEO, Travis Kalanick, also resigned last year after allegations emerged of widespread sexual harassment and discrimination in the company.

Now, however, Uber is honoring International Women’s Day by releasing a three-minute film highlighting its female drivers. “The film is aligned with this year’s International Women’s Day global theme, #PressforProgress,” said Eshan Ponnadurai, director of brand and strategy at Uber Asia Pacific. “We are delighted to showcase this film, which features our female driver-partners who challenge the status quo by driving with Uber.”

Perhaps these corporations would receive less negative feedback if they took the time to actually make their products and workplaces safer for women, as opposed to focusing on kitschy publicity stunts. But that will have to wait. In the meantime, let’s all gawp in amazement at an upside-down McDonald’s sign.