International Women’s Day: The good and the bad — UPDATED

As the world celebrated International Women’s day and efforts were made to bring a fresh face to the ongoing issue of gender inequality, some companies found success while another missed the mark.

Last year TBWA extended started an initiative to achieve a more balanced representation of women in leadership roles across its networks and this year it extended efforts with its ‘Take The Lead‘ campaign.

The initiative found that only women showed concern for the imbalance so this year it wanted to recognise that women’s issues are everyone’s issues.

To do that, TBWA conducted a global survey of women’s experiences in their advertising careers and paired the responses with men in the industry.

DDB is also working to promote gender equality throughout the advertising industry with two creative campaigns.

The first encourages its employee network to to appear genderless on LinkedIn by changing their profile pictures and abbreviating gender-defining firsts names.

Titled ‘Talent Has No Gender’, the campaign hopes to reach everyone, including those outside the agency. Every time someone updates their image and name, their connections will be prompted to do the same.

The social network campaign is supported by a website and video featuring male and female leaders, clients and partners across the DDB network who discuss what talent looks like. Gender isn’t one of the factors.

In a more humorous campaign, DDB New York and Young Minds for Gender Equality Foundation brought attention to the gender pay gap with “The Business Bulge“.

In a highly scientific mathematical equation, women’s lack of pant bulge is named as the reason behind a 22 percent pay difference. In order to close the gap, the foundation is encouraging women to buy a prosthetic bulge which will make them interview, meeting and presentation ready.

Microsoft and m:united took a different approach, using school girls to point out that female inventors do not receive the same credit and attention as male inventors. Rather than taking on an issue surrounding the workplace, Microsoft wanted to inspire them, and show girls that they can make anything they set their mind to.

The campaign is made up of a number of videos, with the hero featuring the girls attempting to name a male and then a female inventor.

Shorter support videos include information about some of the female inventors who the girls failed to name.

Closer to home, FCB shared an image of its team in celebration of the day. The agency was proud to show that over half its staff are women.

Stolen Girlfriends Club also tried to get amongst the International Women’s Day celebrations, but its efforts backfired somewhat after posting an image of a man on its Instagram.

While some saw the post as witty, other comments saw women call the post and its supporting hashtags “insensitive”, “embarrassing”, “terrible” and “disrespectful”.

BIC’s attempt to celebrate women also missed the mark when they sent boxes of the pink ‘BIC For Her’ pens to a smoothie company, Innocent, in the UK.

The pens have been in existence since 2012 but in a post on Facebook, the female staff at Innocent were not convinced of the purpose of a pink pen. Through images they shared feelings of relief having been given a pen that would finally allow them to write.

We’ve been sent a box of ‘BIC for her’ pens designed especially for women to celebrate International Women’s Day. Revolutionary http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B004FTGJUW

Posted by innocent on Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The post has since been shared nearly 6,500 times, with many women also jumping on board to express their ‘relief’.

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