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Petitioning Safeway

If Safeway Cares, It Will Add Two Women to Its Board

As recently reported, the general counsel of Safeway Inc., a Fortune 100 company, compared Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to pigs at the supermarket chain’s annual meeting this past Tuesday.

Gordon, 59, has been Safeway’s GC since 2000. The company operates 1,675 stores in the U.S. and western Canada and had annual sales of $43.6 billion in 2011.

Here's the "joke."

. . . among the instructions given to Obama's Secret Service agents was to try to agree with the president more and support his decisions. And that led to this exchange that took place last week, when the president flew into the White House lawn and an agent greeted him at the helicopter.

The president was carrying two pigs under his arms and the Secret Service agents said, "Nice pigs, sir."

And the president said, "These are not ordinary pigs, these are genuine Arkansas razorback hogs. I got one for former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and one for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."

And the Secret Service agent said, "Excellent trade, sir."

When a major American corporation whose primary source of income is the women who patronize their stores shows this type of sexist attitude, the time has come for the company to put at least three women on its Board of Directors. Safeway has one, Janet E. Grove.

The GC of Safeway has made the type of apology we've become accustomed to hearing from people who refuse to be accountable for what they said. In this case, he said " "I sincerely apologize if the opening comments I made at the recent annual stockholders meeting offended anyone. As these comments have been interpreted, they are not a reflection of my personal beliefs or that of my employer. I understand how my comments have impacted others and I hope they will accept my apology."

In other words, people have interpreted the inoffensive thing that I said as being offensive and I'm sorry they did that.

There's no reason to call for the resignation of someone who is suffering from implicit bias so much that he does not recognize just how outrageous comparing two of the world's most powerful women to pigs is. What he and Safeway need is diversity in their ranks.

Because it takes at least three women on a Board of Directors to change corporate culture (in this case, obviously sexist corporate culture) this Petition is a request to Safeway that it make amends to the women customers on which it bases its fortune by adding two more women to its Board of Directors.

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