Here's the funny thing about Dick and Jane books: We're aware they existed but don't actually remember reading them as kids (probably because their social high point was between the 1930s and 1970s). If they remain impactful today, it's probably more because of the spin-offs they inspired than because of the originals … which is amazing when you think about it.
This time, the nostalgic throwback is being used to encourage more women to run for office. For organization She Should Run—whose title lends itself suspiciously perfectly to a Dick and Jane tribute—ad agency Geometry Global created a downloadable PDF called See Joan Run.
The 14-page book follows a woman called Joan—whose name carries extra weight for Mad Men lovers—in a world full of Dicks (we liked that joke, and also its Mad Men echoes). One of our favorite passages follows thus:
Bob says, "There are too many Dicks in office."
"Run, Joan, run!" says Sue.
The rest follows Joan running, winning and encouraging other women to run. The last few pages include facts about women in office—when women run, they get elected at the same rate as men do, but fewer than one-third of elected American leaders are women—and how you can help change the ratio (for example by sharing the book).
Per a 2013 study, the U.S. ranked 98th in the world for the percentage of women in its national legislature—down from 59th in 1998. At the current rate of progress, "women won't achieve fair representation for nearly 500 years," said Cynthia Terrell, chair of FairVote's Representation 2020 project, at the time the study came out.
This is a shame for all of us. Women elected to key national leadership offices yield better economic performance for ethnically diverse nations—sometimes up to a 6.8 percent rise in GDP growth compared to nations with male leaders only.
Similar findings were found in a 2015 MSCI study of company boards: Generally, companies with strong female leadership at the very top saw a return on equity of 10.1 percent more per year, versus 7.4 percent for those without. Companies that lack board diversity also suffer more governance-related controversies.
These stats have been floating around for a while, though, so if a simple-as-dirt nostalgia-driven storybook is what's necessary to galvanize more ladies (and hopefully dudes), we're all for it.
You can download the book, tell a woman to run (at the bottom of the page) or make like Shonda Rhimes and tweet all about it. An accompanying letter to influencers also provides useful stats and even a script for spreading the word:
She Should Run claims that, since the campaign went live, it's enjoyed 2.1 million impressions across 11 countries and a 300 percent rise in nominations. That's a start … and it's certainly better than investing in The Business Bulge.