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February 01, 2014 3:39 PM Conference that promises to “reset the agenda for women in the workplace” invites CEOs and Hollywood types aplenty — but snubs labor unions

By Kathleen Geier

In a little over a week, along a “breathtaking” stretch of Pacific coastline, the MAKERS, a TV and digitial initiative, will host its inaugural conference. MAKERS boasts that it will “partner” will individuals and organizations that are experts in “women’s work and family issues,” and that its conference will “reset the agenda for women in the workplace in the 21st century.”

Oh my, that’s quite an ambitious agenda! How do they plan to accomplish that, do you suppose? Apparently, largely through by master classes like “Leading from Your Center,” “Brand Maker: Living IN Your Brand,” and “Getting Out of the Box.”

And who, then, are the renowned “experts” in women’s work and family issues who will be speaking at this shindig? Why, everyone from Chelsea Handler to Martha Stewart to Geena Davis to Phil Donahue to Sheryl Sandberg to top executives at AOL, McKinsey and Company, Coca Cola, and Nike — and many, many more. I mean, by putting TV personalities and CEOs like these in charge of the economic future of women, what could possibly go wrong, right?

But funnily enough, do you know who was not invited to this one percenter lollapalooza that’s going to like, totally, revolutionize women’s working lives? Labor unions, that’s who!

Lolsob, as the kids say. On the plus side, this event seems too inherently ridiculous and resolutely apolitical to any real harm. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

Unfortunately, the press is not allowed, which is a pity. Some events are just such big, fat, overstuffed targets for a takedown — they’re “cruisin’ for a bruisin’,” as my dad used to say to me and my siblings whenever he was longing to smack the living hell out of us. This conference is cruisin’ for a bruisin’, indeed.

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee

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