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WOMEN IN MEDIA TO CELEBRATE ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

#EACHFOREQUAL

Whilst there are a lot of women on different media platforms there is still a disproportionate amount of them working in the media. On Sunday 8th March it is International Women’s Day and the theme is #EachforEqual which is ‘drawn from collective Individualism’, the idea of ‘an equal world being an enabled world’.

From a creative perspective it is easy to understand the need for a gender balanced workspace however, we are still in an era where women behind the camera are disadvantaged and underrepresented. Internews states that ‘reaching equality for all starts with increasing women’s participation inclusion and leadership in media and technology’ so I thought we’d take a look at those who are making changes from behind the scenes.

Someone who has a strong link to International Women’s Day is Christina Knight, a largely influential copywriter, author and public speaker. She was first put on the map when her 2005 ad campaign ‘Hello Period’ for O.B Tampons helped increase sales by 4.2% through offering young women an ad campaign that put them in the spotlight. You can see some of the images here. Knight decided to include informative booklets for both mothers and daughters to tackle the stigma of women’s sanitary products. They were full of factual information as well as practical tips on how to manoeuvre around this new phase of life. On International Women’s day 2013 she published her own book Mad Women – A Herstory of Advertising which stems from her dissatisfaction of the lack of female perspective at advertising agencies which she discusses during her Ted Talk.

Knight references how at the start of her career she was often the ‘only woman at the table’ and how destructive the ‘if you can’t see it, you can’t be it’ narrative becomes for young women. However, for me the most important statement she makes is that she doesn’t agree ‘that the female perspective should replace the existing norm’ but that ‘it needs to compliment it’. I think that this statement encompasses Knight’s attitude of re-education and why she is such an important asset to not just marketing agencies but to women as well.

…”for me the most important statement she makes is that she doesn’t agree ‘that the female perspective should replace the existing norm’ but that ‘it needs to compliment it’.” – Hanna Munir

‘SHE CREATES’

Knight’s campaign had an interactive element that is also key to Apple’s take on International Women’s Day with their She Creates campaign. Right at the forefront of this campaign is Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of Retail + People who says, ‘we’re thrilled to recognise International Women’s Day so everyone can be inspired by some of the world’s most passionate and innovative creators.’ There is an incredible advert here where there is a focus on women in all different phases of life and from a variety of races and ages.

It’s a collection of the likes of Malala Yousafzai, Lady Gaga and Lily Singh who are championed by Beyoncé’s ‘Flawless’ that plays over the imagery. Powerful, influential women who are being acknowledged and praised for the boundaries they are continuing to break and the paths they are paving. The black and white images draw focus to these women and give them a collective identity which is definitely on theme for this year’s International Women’s Day. Alongside this they are also hosting ‘Today at Apple’ sessions which include pro skills sessions and interactive media shows with Sarah Rothwell. O’Brien’s influence speaks to how women’s skills should be utilised to help communities and encourage equal opportunities.

Nicola Mendelsohn was born in our very own Manchester and is an Advertising Executive and Vice-President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa for Facebook. With the Telegraph calling her ‘the most powerful woman in the British Tech Industry’ it’s clear to see the impact Mendelsohn has had on gender expectations within technology and media. Mendelsohn has been very vocal about her problems regarding women’s relationship with the workplace as in a recent interview with Jewish News she said, ‘when a woman achieves something new or prominent in arts, business or education, it’s seen as a rare celestial event.’

This echoes the ideas of Knight and O’Brien that women don’t necessarily want to be seen as a rarity anymore because they want others to be inspired and achieve the same goals. She also says that she hates the questions ‘can you have it all?’ because she finds that ‘it sets you up for failure and implies you have to choose’ and limits the imagination of women during a primary phase. This message is highlighted in her own campaign that she launched with Facebook called #Shemeansbusiness which you can access herethat connects like-minded businesswomen and helps them start and flourish. Mendelsohn’s constant perseverance and simply her incredible work is why she made it onto my list of women people should know about and celebrate.

From these featured creators and campaigns, we have an array of incredible work from women who have not just witnessed change but have played key roles in producing it. Some people may still question the purpose of an International Women’s Day but with the World Economic Forum ‘estimating that the gender gap won’t close until 2186’ it’s clear to see the need for one.

Equally, it’s important to remember that this is also just another good excuse to appreciate and recognise the women in our lives, either professionally or personally.

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