PayPal on the defensive after 'male ally' panel on gender equality is criticized online
Paypal (Facebook)

Event organizers said discussion intended for ‘male allies’ at online payment company to participate with women on gender issues in the workplace

PayPal will host a panel on gender equality next Wednesday to discuss “gender equality and inclusion in the workplace”. The panel will be all male.

“Please join us for a discussion with our senior male leaders ... about how men and women can partner to achieve a better workplace,” reads a flyer shared online and first highlighted by NBC News.

The event is being organized by Unity, Women@PayPal, and immediately ran into criticism on Twitter and Facebook. In response the group’s president Nolwenn Godard issued a statement on her Facebook page pointing out that the event is focused on “male allies”.

“For this panel our intent is to bring together our male allies to work with us on inclusion. The title of the panel is ‘Gender Equality and Inclusion in the Workplace: a Conversation with our Male Allies’,” she wrote. “Unfortunately the full title and the intention of the panel did not make it on to the initial posters that have been subject of commentary.”

Godard has since been asked to moderate the all-men panel, according to LaFawn Bailey, global head of culture and inclusion at PayPal. She also pointed out that women in the community are to be “full participants in the discussion”.

“Gender equality is not just a women’s issue. It will take all of us to create an inclusive workplace environment where involvement, respect, collaboration and connections are cultivated,” Bailey wrote in a blog post addressing the criticism.

“As a leader in culture and inclusion, I recognize that for men to be catalyst for change, we have to create an environment for honest dialog to occur. Our hope is that this event, which is open to all PayPal employees, will provide a different perspective and spur advocacy around gender balance.”