Addressing Representation on International Women's Day

Mar 12, 2021 11:10 AM ET
Blog

Each year, brands become more innovative in their celebrations of International Women’s Day. This Monday we saw empowering donations, the banning of “normal” in packaging and calls to support women-owned businesses. With many incredible activations, we did see one powerful theme rise to the surface – brands challenging the representation of women in media. This week, we explore three brands that are confronting the way we depict women throughout the world.

  • Häagen-Dazs transformed four of its ice cream flavors in tribute to the accomplishments of four influential women in the Middle East. The ice cream company renamed its vanilla flavor to “Scale New Heights” in honor of Raha Moharrak, the youngest Arab and first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest, and its salted caramel flavor to “Beat the Odds” to reflect the journey of Yasmin Yousri, three-time cancer survivor, fashion stylist, blogger and motivational speaker. “Direct My Story” (Belgian chocolate) lifts up Nayla Al-Khaja, the first female film director-producer in the United Arab Emirates; and strawberries and cream became “Design My Destiny” to tell the story of Maz Hakim, Afghan-Australian radio presenter, author, fashion designer and public speaker. When customers order these flavors in the UAE, they not only learn about influential women in an area where sexism strongly persists, but also get to start their order with a “self-affirming” statement.
  • Getty Images marked International Women’s Day by addressing the stereotypical look of women in positions of power with a new gallery: Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a Covid-19 World. The visual media company worked with the Unstereotype Alliance – an “action platform that seeks to eradicate harmful gender-based stereotypes” – to create a comprehensive collection of women in managerial roles. Global Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images, Rebecca Swift, said that she wants this campaign to inspire advertisers and marketers to “be more thoughtful about their choices and not rely on choices they have always made.”
  • Instagram issued new, more inclusive stickers to honor “the women who lift us up all day, every day.” The stickers were designed by women with disabilities, healthcare workers, mothers, queer/trans women, and more to capture every part of womanhood. This initiative encourages people all over the world to showcase diverse women in their own stories.

Consumers’ expectations of brands and how they represent and reflect our world are ever increasing. In fact, more than half of Americans say if they don’t see themselves represented in a company’s marketing and communications, they are less likely to want to support that company. The brand examples this week demonstrate the plethora of ways companies can continue to increase and improve representation, especially of women.