McDonald’s PR Decisions on the Gender Front


For some reason, a government relations officer from McDonald’s restaurants thought it worthwhile to send me a modified version of this press release in my capacity as the vice president of the Tiverton Town Council.  (Tiverton has no McDonald’s.)  The email subject line was “Introducing McDonald’s Gender Balance and Diversity Strategy,” and the body includes the following information:

Together with our franchisees, McDonald’s provides jobs for almost 2 million people across the world and is one of the largest employers of women. In fact, in the U.S., 61% of McDonald’s employees are women, 60% of our restaurant managers are women and over 3,800 restaurants are women owned and operated. Of our signature education and tuition assistance program, Archways to Opportunity, 62% of the participants are women. That is why we are committed to creating a workplace where everyone, from crew to c-suite, is equally supported and empowered to realize their full potential. …

We recognize that this initiative requires ongoing effort, and we are committed to engaging with stakeholders to understand their perspectives and how to evolve our actions. We appreciate the continuous feedback and guidance from you and other experts and hope our combined efforts will continue to make a difference.

I replied, seeking to resolve my confusion.  From the provided information, it appears that women are significantly over-represented in employment, restaurant management, and benefit from the company’s scholarship program, at least in the United States.  Shouldn’t efforts at equity in our country therefore focus on men?

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I received no reply, but I subsequently noticed that the online version emphasizes that, “30% of McDonald’s Officer positions and 41% of staff positions at Director level and above are held by women globally,” which seems like an indicator of the oddity of our time.  I don’t know whether the online release was changed in response to feedback like mine, but the possibility seems plausible.  It isn’t difficult to believe that a company, these days, would rather provide critics with evidence that it is currently an unequal workplace committed to change than to take credit for perhaps overdoing it in its zeal to comply with a fashionable ideology.

One consequence of our culture’s adherence to this strange ideology is that a global company has incentive to introduce discrimination where there may be none to make up for opposite discrimination elsewhere.  The way we’re training ourselves to understand these issues thus leads us to combat injustice with injustice.

  • Joe Smith

    Assuming manager and higher positions at McDonalds require a bachelor degree, then women should be more represented since for at least two decades women have earned bachelor degrees at higher rates and in culinary management even more skewed female (granted McDonald’s managers might have all kinds of actual undergraduate majors).

    Not sure why McDonalds has to either apologize or emphasize that – except the lack of knowledge in the public that assumes anything not 50-50 must represent some form of prejudice or patriarchy.