Oh, this announcement is just so precious on a number of levels.
VaynerX and The Female Quotient (TFQ) are forming a strategic partnership to collaborate on events and experiences. The initial collaboration will kick off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.
The Female Quotient is an advocacy group whose mission is to advance gender equality in the workplace. “When you put women in any equation, the equation gets better,” the group asserts. No argument there.
The group got started a few years ago at the CES when Shelley Zalis invited some female friends to walk the floor together at the male-dominated event. The experience inspired Zalis to found The Girl’s Lounge at CES. Zalis was previously CEO Ipsos OTX for five-plus years.
The CES has taken some flak for its upcoming program’s lack of women in keynote speech-making roles, although the organization has countered that there are lots of women participating in the show’s numerous panel sessions. Not really the same though, is it?
Anyway, the alliance with Vayner is interesting to say the least.
That’s the same Vayner that cosponsored a widely reported party at Cannes in 2016 with Thrilist that was called out by agency veteran and gender-equality advocate Cindy Gallop and others for sexist invitations that read, in part: “Thank you for your interest in attending! Please be aware this specific list is for attractive females and models only.”
The invite also asked women interested in attending to submit a “recent untouched photo” that would be vetted before those interested females would be admitted.
Seems pretty incredible in this day and age. After the call out by Gallop, et al, Vayner CEO Gary Vaynerchuk apologized. Both Vayner and Thrillist said the invite was generated by a third-party promotions company they had hired, but the invite in question was issued without approval.
So their argument seems to be, in effect, that they’re not the sexist swine the invitation would suggest, just inept at managing vendor relationships.
The Vayner-TFQ deal will result in content creation, much of it TBA at this point. At CES, the TFQ Girls’ Lounge will feature PureWow showcasing chakra readings and 2018 career forecasting while PureWow's Editor in Chief Mary Kate McGrath will be included on the “Career Forecasting: Leaders On The Year Ahead” panel. PureWow is Vayner’s women’s lifestyle media brand.
Yes, I’m a little skeptical that this alliance advances anything in the gender equality sphere. But I’m certainly open-minded about it. Let’s circle back in a year and see what it’s really accomplished.