Happy International Women’s Day! A few weeks ago my colleague from HR came into our office to ask my manager to photograph the IWD event. Unfortunately he was away on a business trip to America so I volunteered to take the photos instead. After a few crash courses on how to use the camera I was all set for today.
Employees from all different departments came to the event and were able to take part in a quiz. As soon as the prize of a bottle of wine was mentioned people were immediately sitting down and filling it out! The quiz highlighted some of the issues women face today whilst referencing some brilliant female role models we could all learn from. It got people talking about gender equality and what we can do within our company and in our day to day lives to improve the issues women still face.
We were also running a photo booth where people could use different wigs, glasses and hats to get involved and meant everyone could have a laugh and enjoy themselves. We managed to get some great photos and I’m looking forward to seeing them up around the building. I was expecting some negative comments or questions as to why there was an International Women’s Day but this didn’t really happen which was great. I’m glad people saw it as a day to celebrate the women at our company and in our lives and recognise there is still a way to go before we reach equality.
Also available were white boards for people to write different messages celebrating the day. We had a variety of messages including some of manufacturing displaying that they make life saving products everyday (I work at a healthcare company) whilst my friend proudly displayed that she was the only female IT support in the UK. I used my message board for a more simple, general message.
How did you celebrate International Women’s Day?
Over a year and a half has passed since Always released their #LikeAGirl campaign and it remains one of my favourite marketing campaigns. The advert brilliantly demonstrates how it has become normal for society to associate feminine qualities with weakness by showing different generations portraying what they think it means to do an activity ‘like a girl’.
The campaign aligns itself perfectly with their target market of women, managing to tackle an important social issue whilst subtly promoting their brand. By positioning themselves as compassionate and supportive for girls and women, the viewer is prompted to place trust in the brand and the products they have on offer.
It is interesting to see the young boy’s reaction to the interviewer when asked if he thinks he insulted his sister; ‘No, I mean, yeah… insulted girls, but not my sister’. This adds another thinking point to the campaign making the viewer consider who it is they could be damaging or limiting when making a derogatory slur towards women. A professional in work may make a rude comment towards their female colleagues and think nothing of it however would they react differently if they witnessed their mother, sister, wife or friend belittled or patronised because of their gender? The campaign, whilst promoting Always, manages to guide the viewer to think about the issue in a bigger context.
Always have also taken a step in promoting feminism as an approachable movement. The opening sequence sparks interest in the viewer to see what direction the advert will go in and shows them how a comment that at first may appear harmless, or even normal, can actually be damaging to a woman’s confidence and development.
It is rare that you see a company tackle social issues without an overbearing feeling that they are only doing it for the good publicity it may bring. Always seem to have found the perfect balance through their clever positioning and gentle, relatable approach.
I recently saw a video by the Huffington Post about white feminism and it raised a lot of important issues that need to be considered. I saw the video on Facebook and unfortunately looked through the comments and so many people were posting comments like “We should work towards equality instead of feminism” or “Feminism is the problem”. The world feminism for many now is seen as a negative and it’s core values are so frequently misunderstood or dismissed.
I think one of the main issues is the way the media has portrayed feminism. Extreme feminism is more frequently documented, alienating the cause and misconstruding what feminists believe in. It is no secret that there are a lot of issues in the media with how both men and women are represented and feminism strives to understand and better these representations.
A common misconception of feminism is that it fights for women to be in power over men. This simply isn’t the case. Google defines feminism as:
“The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.”
However this is not to say that feminists do not care about the treatment of men. Feminists understand how gender roles can be damaging to both men and women and how society puts pressure on both genders to conform.
I think feminism should be taught in schools from a young age. The Always #LikeAGirl advert shows how early sexist remarks that seem harmless can actually impact young people and begin damaging self esteem and confidence. I believe children should be taught media literacy so they can understand the messages and examples they are exposed to on a daily basis. I believe this will benefit young people and equip them with the knowledge they need to make better strides to a more equal society.
If I had to sum up why I am a feminist I think one of the easiest ways is to explain that I have a mum, sisters and female friends. I would never want those people to miss out on opportunities just because they are women. I want them to feel valued and have the same opportunities anyone else has throughout their lives and careers.
I am considering doing my dissertation for university on something around women in the workplace and whether they get the same opportunities. I might write more about feminism as I continue to develop my blog as it is such an important topic that really interests me.
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