How We Celebrated 50/50 Day — & How You Can Still Get Involved

On May 10, 2017, Refinery29 partnered with director Tiffany Shlain to celebrate the first inaugural 50/50 Day — a global celebration of the continued fight for gender equality. Shlain, whose eye-opening Shatterbox film 50/50 illuminates history’s often-overlooked female leaders, created the event to inspire activists from across the world to bring vital dialogues about this ongoing battle back to the places where change matters most: their homes, offices, schools, and everywhere in between. With a little help from powerhouse celebs like Eva Longoria and tireless organizations ranging from Intel to NARAL Pro-Choice, 50/50 Day spurred a conversation about women's rights that crossed continents and cultural barriers, fueled by screenings of Shlain's film, discussion groups, and a 24-hour panel that linked participants in their joined advocacy for equality.
Ahead, check out the myriad ways 50/50 Day pushed this essential fight forward. And don't forget to visit Shlain's website for more information about how to join the global initiative.
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50/50 Day was all about connecting global communities to consider the concrete steps we can take to advance the cause of gender equality. With 11,020 gatherings worldwide, the event activated thinkers, leaders, and organizers in 65 countries with an urgent call for change, challenging them to brainstorm the ways they can protect women's rights.
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Eva Longoria spoke out about the Latina wage gap and how education can be one of the most powerful tools for progress. As we learned from her game-changing op-ed, more than 25% of Latinas live in poverty — a socio-economic disenfranchisement that impacts women leaders from boardrooms to Congress. Yet by working to close the gender divide permeating the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, Longoria charts new avenues for women of color to increase their power and representation. This is especially important since the tech industry will have 1.1 million job openings by 2024, with more than half lacking the skilled workers to fill them. By investing in programs that bring Latina women to the burgeoning world of STEM studies, the Eva Longoria Foundation is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty that keeps female students from having a real seat at the table.
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Refinery29 hosted a live discussion about gender equality with a group of the media world's most diverse feminist thought leaders. Moderated by our own Ashley Ford, this panel brought together renowned advertising exec Cindy Gallop, CNN political commentator Sally Kohn, media blogger Rachel Sklar, and entrepreneur Dee Poku for a ground-breaking conversation about the real steps women can take to change the ways we're treated at work and represented across our culture.
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We also launched a wage-gap calculator in partnership with WIP — to help you know your worth and demand more. Ready to fight back against ingrained wage inequality? Get started by calculating your salary here.
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Philadelphia became our favorite city on Earth by officially declaring May 10 50/50 Day. As Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown (pictured) told Refinery29, "we will not have true equality until women achieve parity with men in earning power and potential. Many women remain clustered in occupations considered 'women’s jobs' — clerical work, nursing, and many caring professions. When compared to jobs traditionally held by men that require similar levels of education training and experience, women’s work always pays less, simply because it is women who are doing the work. In fact, women earn less than men in every occupational classification for which data is available." Reynolds Brown also emphasized the importance of increasing the number of powerful women holding office and participating in politics; how else can we guarantee access to abortion, contraception, equal pay, and fair representation?
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The fact that Hispanic women make as little as 54% of what men doing the same job earn gives us the urge to scream about wage inequality from the rooftops, so we did just that — with a billboard in the heart of Time Square. Partnering with the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), Refinery29 brought the staggering truths of the pay gap to 43rd and Broadway, where our beautiful sign educated pedestrians about the distance we still have to go to ensure fair compensation. Feeling inspired to explore more ways to combat wage inequality? Check out our #WeWantMore initiative here.
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Salt Lake City's Leonardo Da Vinci Museum hosted multiple showings of 50/50 and celebrated the opening of its latest exhibit, Human Rights Gallery: Woman/Women, with targeted discussions for female leaders. The museum also invited students from the Salt Lake City Public School District for lunch and further conversations, and even featured comments from Mayor Jackie Biskupski and one of 50/50's executive producers, Jacki Zehner, who runs Women Moving Millions.
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Shlain also teamed up with Six Word Memoirs, The Intentional Creatives Guild, and Big Picture Arts to turn 50/50 Day's social media campaign into a live art installation in downtown Oakland, California. People from all over the world used Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to send in their six words that outlined what a gender-balanced world looked like to them. They then printed these out and wrote them onto a billboard, which will be displayed in downtown Oakland for several months.
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