Recognised since 1909, International Women's Day is a day of celebrating just how much women contribute to society, economy and communities. But it's also a rallying cry, to recognise the work that is left to be done to achieve true gender equality. We take a look at how brands reacted to the annual celebration of womanhood.
In some countries, International Women's Day is a public holiday, in others, it's a day of protest – while in New Zealand, it's marked similarly to the anniversary of universal suffrage: a day to celebrate how far we've come towards gender equality, and how far we have to go.
The 2019 theme was #BalanceforBetter and many New Zealand brands choose to identify the diversity within their ranks and celebrate it.
Stuff was one of the brands that joined Champions for Change in 2018, an organisation which released a campaign asking people to acknowledge their unconscious bias in the workplace and do something about it.
Ecostore approached the day from a different, no less serious angle. The eco-friendly company shared a video focussing on the world’s original, most important woman: Mother Earth. The video finishes with the line: “This International Women’s Day, please, please, support the woman who gave us everything, Mother Earth”.
Shared on Ecostore’s social media, the company called for help to protect the Earth in the face of climate change.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand tied its International Women’s Day social media post with the release of Marvel’s first-ever female-led film: Captain Marvel. In the film, Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson, is a pilot in the US Air Force – which fits nicely with the hand-drawn comic Air New Zealand shared, drawn by one the female staff in the design team.
Of course, there was the comment section was not without its share of the standard “Is there an international men’s day?” responses – but Air New Zealand generously replied saying “...There sure is, and we will celebrate that on November 19…”.
Spark boosted its STEM Scholarships in its post. The telco is awarding five scholarships annually to help foster a more diverse digital talent pool, and encourage women to study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees. Currently, only one third of New Zealand students studying in STEM subjects are women.
Vodafone New Zealand
Vodafone took a different track on International Women’s Day, by posting two paid partnerships to its social channels.
The first was with TEDxAuckland, featuring 2018 speaker Jess Quinn and her quest to shed light on the way photoshopped images create narrow and unrealistic views of what beauty looks like.
Vodafone also shared a video with Black Ferns and All Blacks players throwing a rugby ball around, talking about the need to level up the playing field.
Westpac NZ marked the occasion by celebrating working mothers within its ranks. Louisa Brock and Nicole Langford spoke about how they utilise Westpac’s flexibility policies to balance their lives and without having to choose between working or children.
Kiwibank kept things simple, marking the day with posts from two women within company, talking about what gender equality at work means to them.
ZM strayed away from its regular content, with the women of the station hosting its first ever All Women Breakfast show to celebrate both International Women’s Day and the release of Captain Marvel. Instead of the usual Fletch, Vaughan and Megan, the show was run by Megan, Bel and Bree – with Megan opening up about the blatant sexism she has experienced during her career in radio.
FCB celebrated the day by asking female staff members why they are proud to be women. According to the post, women make up 70 percent of the agency’s workforce. Answers ranged from “I’m proud to juggle being a creative director of an agency and a chief mummy officer at home,” to, simply, “Jacinda Ardern”.
VMLY&R New Zealand
VMLY&R also celebrated its gender-diverse workplace on social media, posting that 54 percent of its leadership team and 57 percent of its staff are women.
TBWA\NZ followed a similar theme for its post. With 70 percent of the leadership team being made up by women, the agency asked the team how they believe diversity creates a better work environment. Group business lead/head of operations Kate Heatley said “imagine what the world would look like if we had no discrimination across age, race, gender, ability. That’s true disruption”.