Florida’s new business logo sexist, critics say

Dylan Stableford
The Lookout

Late last week, Enterprise Florida, an organization promoting Florida's job growth, held a press conference to unveil its slogan: "FLORIDA: The Perfect Climate For Business." Florida Gov. Rick Scott posed for pictures with board members from the publicly funded group, holding a sign with the logo of the state's "first-ever business brand."

Now that logo, which features a necktie in place of the "I" in "FLORIDA," has come under fire by critics who say it's sexist.

“Your tie logo is offensive," one commenter wrote on Enterprise Florida's Facebook page. "What, business is men only?”

“Not very female friendly at all," another wrote. "With so many new women business owners impacting our economy ... you should consider ditching the tie."

Florida is home to more than 587,000 female-owned businesses, ranking it No. 4 in the country, according to a 2012 study. (California, with more than 1 million, ranked first.)

"This logo sends the wrong message," another wrote. "It seems to scream 'we don't hire women.' Maybe that was not the intention, but that is the message."

“I thought immediately that it set us back, all the work that we’ve done," Pamela Rogan, the president of the Central Florida chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, said in a statement. "It’s not that they have to make it pink or ‘girlie,’ but maybe put a briefcase or something like an iPhone or a smartphone in there to represent business.”

Some, though, did not see what all the fuss is about.

"Good grief," Christy Everson Pepper wrote on Facebook. "It's embarrassing to be a a woman sometimes! You really think a tie is sexist? wow. I thought nothing of it. Come on, ladies, show men that we are NOT a bunch of cry babies!"

Despite the backlash, it does not appear Enterprise Florida is considering changing the logo.

“If you see tie, you think business,” Melissa Medley, chief marketing officer for Enterprise Florida, told ABC News. “There’s nothing sinister here. There’s no secret formula [for] how it was approached.”

She added: "I recognize some people might look at that and connect to a man’s article of clothing. Most people do so because they haven’t seen the rest of the campaign."