McDonald's flipped its logo to 'celebrate' women. Then came the backlash.

Fast-food behemoth McDonald's is temporarily flipping its iconic logo and switching its packaging in some U.S. locations - a move meant to celebrate International Women's Day, the company says.

But the stunt has rung hollow to many of the company's critics, who say McDonald's has systematically advanced policies that disadvantage its female employees. In particular, the company has fought a sustained battle against increases to the minimum wage, an issue that affects women disproportionately.

According to the Labor Department, women make up nearly two-thirds of all hourly minimum-wage earners. Recent research suggests that they benefit most from increases in that minimum.

» McDonald’s flips golden arches to honor women

"Hey McDonalds," tweeted Nathan Lerner, a progressive activist. "Maybe instead of a cheap PR stunt where you make the M a W to 'support' women, you do something real - like paying your workers a living wage."

This is far from the first time that activists and critics have called on McDonald's to pay its employees more. The chain, which employs 375,000 people in the United States, is a regular target of the Fight for $15 campaign, which advocates for higher wages, and has found its shareholder meetings disrupted by minimum-wage activists.

It is also not the first time that women's groups have identified the minimum wage as a feminist issue. The National Women's Law Center, a nonprofit advocacy group, has argued that raising that minimum is key to closing the gender pay gap and advancing the economic interests of women.

"Labor rights are women's rights," Carmen Perez, co-chair of the Women's March, told The Washington Post in May ahead of a march on the McDonald's in downtown Chicago. "The link between the gender justice and labor justice movements is strong - but often unacknowledged."

» McDonald’s puts Disney back into Happy Meals

Despite these arguments, McDonald's and other fast-food chains have resisted calls to provide a so-called living wage - and, frequently, have fought against such raises. While McDonald's has not commented publicly on this fight, the chain is a member of the National Restaurant Association, a trade group that has actively lobbied against wage increases in more than 30 states.

The association argues that such increases would strain franchisees' margins and, eventually, put tens of thousands of people out of work. That includes thousands of women, who make up 52 percent of all restaurant workers - and 60 percent of McDonald's managers in the United States, according to the company.

In a statement, spokesperson Lauren Altmin said McDonald's was proud of that statistic and the role that women play at McDonald's. She also said that the company had worked hard to improve benefits for workers.

"We recently enhanced a number of employee benefits including an increase in our maternity and paternity leave policy for Corporate and company-owned restaurants," she said. "And McDonald's provides tuition assistance, academic advising services, English language courses and more through our Archways to Opportunity program."

» Not everyone pleased with a McDonald's attempt to deter homeless people

On Twitter, however, the reception remains mixed. The most popular tweet on the subject - circulated far more widely than McDonald's own Women's Day message - mocks the company for not embracing more workplace policies designed to help women.

Some critics have also re-purposed an old insult meant to describe women's outreach that is lazy, self-serving or presumptive.

They call it, fittingly, "McFeminism."

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Nation World

Alert mail carrier saves man’s life in Georgia
Alert mail carrier saves man’s life in Georgia

A Georgia mail carrier is being credited with saving a man’s life. Amanda Nalley said her suspicion about uncollected mail led her to check with a neighbor and then call 911. "I left his mail on the door knob. Tuesday, when I came back, I knew something was wrong because the mail hadn't been picked up," Nalley said. Nalley, who has...
Damage to St. Paris cemetery leaves veteran’s family seeking answers
Damage to St. Paris cemetery leaves veteran’s family seeking answers

The family of a Korean War veteran from the village of St. Paris is demanding answers after finding his grave — and several others — damaged following a recent burial. Elsie Windle, a resident of the village, said she had recently come to the Evergreen Cemetery to decorate the gravestone of her husband, Private First Class Everett Paul...
Bill naming Labrador Ohio’s official dog lands lawmaker in deep doo-doo
Bill naming Labrador Ohio’s official dog lands lawmaker in deep doo-doo

State Rep. Jeff Rezabek wants to name the Labrador Retriever as the official dog of Ohio but the People for the Ethical Treament of Animals would rather that the American mutt get the special designation. PETA, an animal rights group with 6.5 million members, fired off a letter to Rezabek, R-Clayton, to tell him that his well-intentioned legislation...
WATCH: Elderly woman drives mobility scooter onto busy freeway scaring drivers
WATCH: Elderly woman drives mobility scooter onto busy freeway scaring drivers

A harrowing Facebook video has gone viral on social media.  >> Read more trending news  A woman, who appears to be in her 70s or 80s, was seen driving a mobility scooter onto a dangerous Memphis highway Friday evening around 7 p.m. The terrifying incident was recorded live on Facebook.  The video was being filmed as a cry...
Victim in ex-Indian Lake superintendent sex case: Speak up about abuse
Victim in ex-Indian Lake superintendent sex case: Speak up about abuse

The former Indian Lake superintendent accused of child rape will spend more than four years in prison. Patrick O’Donnell, 52, was sentenced Monday in Logan County Common Pleas Court to 54 months in prison. He also will have to register as a Tier 2 sex offender upon his release. He had been indicted on 14 charges — four counts of rape-victim...
More Stories