Is This Central American Telecom Firm Really Helping Women?

Is This Central American Telecommunications Firm Really Helping Promote Businesswomen?

Is the Central American telecommunications firm Claro empowering women or using feminism as a marketing plot to sell away its sexist past?

Claro Americas, owned by Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim, the second-richest man in the world, has released a short video that spotlights just how socially responsible the brand is.

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Through the 2-minute recording, viewers learn that the telecommunications company has been promoting Costa Rican businesswomen (and themselves) by transforming these low-income entrepreneurs’ rooftop dishes into vibrant ads. Claro even presumptuously notes in the video that the mujeres are "now seen and paid thanks to Claro." Way to take the credit away from the women you are so-called "empowering," fellas!

As reported in the Huffington Post, Claro’s aim is to address the global problem of economic inequality, a noble and necessary initiative, as the number of impoverished women in the country is actually growing.

But is that truly Claro’s goal, or has the telecom giant taken cues from faux-feminist brands like Dove and Pantene, whose recent money-making campaigns have also claimed to empower women?

It’s hard for us to believe that Claro, whose previous public relations disatsers include lots, and we means lots, of sexism. For instance, in 2012, Claro Nicaragua started a promotional contest that advertised free minutes for cellphone users who subscribed to a sexist text-messaging service. According to The Tico Times, its website even promoted the contest with this sweet line: “Know how to piss off women? Receive the best machista jokes on your CLARO!” More recently, the company tweeted a very problematic rape myth: “El 'no' de las mujeres proviene del latin 'rogame un poquito mas,’” which translates to “'No’ by women comes from the Latin for ‘beg me a little more.’”

Can you understand now why we aren’t sold on the brand’s sudden feminism?

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It’s great if the women in the video our benefitting from Clara’s initiative. More money in the pockets of Third World women, who, according to the World Bank, reinvest an average of 90 percent of their income into their families, is something to be excited about. But painting flowers and pigs on dishes isn’t going to erase Claro’s history of misogyny and it certainly won’t fool us into believing that they are suddenly interested women’s needs and well-being.