Searching for sexism

Google is basically the nervous system of the modern world, and that’s best evidenced by the screen in the Googleplex showing the real-time search queries from around the world (minus the dirty ones, apparently). The auto-complete feature aims to predict what you’re going to ask about based on other popular searches and usually the results are either relevant or quite funny. But a new campaign for United Nations Women by Ogilvy & Mather Dubai has used this democratic online function to show how endemic sexism still is around the world. 

As the release says: 

A series of ads, developed as a creative idea for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, uses genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women. Based on searches dated 9 March, 2013 the ads expose negative sentiments ranging from stereotyping as well as outright denial of women’s rights.

“When we came across these searches, we were shocked by how negative they were and decided we had to do something with them,” says Christopher Hunt, Art Director of the creative team. The idea developed places the text of the Google searches over the mouths of women portraits, as if to silence their voices. 

“The ads are shocking because they show just how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality. They are a wake up call, and we hope that the message will travel far,” adds Kareem Shuhaibar, copy writer.

For UN Women, the searches confirm the urgent need to continue making the case for women’s rights, empowerment and equality, a cause the organization is pursuing around the world. UN Women is heartened by the initial strong reaction to the ads and hopes they will spark constructive dialogue globally. 

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