Because, on May 2, the Politico media leaked that the Supreme Court was preparing to revoke Roe v. Wade’s judgment that, since 1973, has guaranteed the right to abortion in the United States, large companies have decided to mobilize. Apple, Amazon, Citigroup, Levi Strauss have announced that they will include in the health coverage of their employees the payment of travel and medical care expenses for their employees living in States that restrict or prohibit abortion . Steps accompanied by strong statements. “A scary day for women,” Sheryl Sandberg, then Facebook COO, wrote on May 3rd.
Seen from Europe, these positions raise questions. What interest can push big brands in their role in developing their business to take sides in social debates? In the United States, unlike France, companies can supply political parties and campaigns without limit, and feel free to do so. But their motivation goes beyond this framework. “It can be summed up in two words: the pressure from their customers and their employees”, summed up Jean-Louis Gassée, the founder of Apple France, a keen observer of Silicon Valley customs, where he lived for thirty years. A mandate favored by the emergence of social networks, which became the realm of politics.
Reaction against Trump
It was the 2016 presidential campaign led by the very divisive Donald Trump that triggered the movement. Wind standing against the American “muslim register” project he proposed, 1,400 tech employees, Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, signed the Never Again Pledge, which pledged to refuse to cooperate in collecting data based on race or religion. In March 2018, the announcement of Google’s partnership with the American army to provide a mass surveillance tool sparked an uprising in the California group: 4,000 employees called for the termination of this secret contract, which will no longer be renewed.