If you didn’t know, today is International Women’s Day!
A short history: the first organized event took place on February 28th, 1909 in New York City. The Socialist Party of America organized it in honor of the 1908 International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union strike. Throughout the decades following, organizations, strikes and other events honoring and fighting for women began cropping up across the globe. It wasn’t until 1977 that the United Nations officially ordained March 8th as the UN Day for women’s rights.
This year’s theme is “Women in the Changing of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” This initiative is linked to the Sustainable Development Goals that were adopted in 2015 – focused on elevated gender equality to the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The evidence of inequality is present in all of our lives – whether it be related to gender inequality, racial tensions, education or healthcare barriers. As an aspiring communications professional, I have often wondered what weight my voice holds within this arena of inequality and women’s issues.
I have found incredible inspiration through the way in which others in my industry have harnessed their creative skills to create content that is moving and incredibly effective at shedding light on these hard topics of inequality and the messages thrown at women in our world. In honor of today and being a woman every single day, here are a couple of my favorite campaigns.
Then, they ask younger girls to do the same thing – and the difference is shocking. The younger girls run and throw and fight like they would in a normal competition, drawing a stark comparison to how the older boys and girls flounced around, painting a picture of how the phrase ‘like a girl’ can be so negative.
This campaign is brilliant because it’s authentic – it’s convicting in how it literally proves the devastating effects of gender expectations in our society.
Quite contrary to the Victoria’s Secret angels that we see so often, this campaign by Aerie finally showed us underwear and swimsuit models that hadn’t been photoshopped! This campaign started a couple years ago, and the brand has only seen an increase in sales since they released their more authentic ads.
Sheryl Sandberg ‘Lean In’
This is less of a campaign and more of an obvious, yet brilliant move. Sheryl Sandberg saw a great need for something you would never think would be an issue – accurate stock photos of women. Whether it was showing them working from home, on the sports field or running a meeting there was an obvious need.
Getty Images partnered with COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg and her organization LeanIn.org, to produce 2,500 stock images that depicted realistic pictures of what women actually look like in the workplace.
Even today, it’s shocking to find that the majority of stock photos tagged as ‘women at work’ show smiley, crisp, blonde, white women sitting behind a desk or depicted as the boss man’s secretary. A subtle, but completely authentic way to change the perception of women in our world and fulfill a great need.
This 60-second spot that debuted at the Super Bowl this year evoked emotion through revealing a father’s inner thoughts about the value society places on his daughter. He watches his little girl win a downhill cart race, asking questions such as ‘Do I tell her that her grandfather is worth more than her grandma?’ ‘That she will automatically be valued less than every man she meets?’
These questions are convicting and straight to the point, and at the end of the video, the text on the screen reads ‘Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work. Progress is for everyone.’
I think Audi did a great job of creating engaging content to communicate their values and strives to implement equality into their business.