Female empowerment campaigns are nothing new. The past few years it seems the message of female positivity has been a theme. Even though a large proportion of the world view women as equal to men, there is still a strong stereotype that women are the weaker gender even from women themselves. Recently, an essay question that was set for a piece within my course asked to ‘analyse a campaign that has changed a key stakeholders behaviour or attitudes to an issue’. The theme of ‘female empowerment’ has opened the world’s eyes to certain attitudes and behaviours that need to be changed.
I decided to focus on female empowerment campaigns and these we’re my top five…
- Alway’s ‘Like a Girl’
It focuses fully on female empowerment, and uses the phrase “Like a girl” to dissect and front the video campaign. The campaign focuses on young girls going through puberty, and provides research to show that over 50% of girls experience a drop in confidence during puberty. However, the majority of them consider the term ‘like a girl’ to be an insult. This makes logical sense, as you realise how damaging language can be towards young girls and that pre-adolescence is the time in which our language has a significant bearing on gender values. Nevertheless, the company chose a relevant time to make such a universal and relatable statement, which is one of the greatest reasons that this ad was extremely successful in making its point. It doesn’t state a case about language and stereotyping – it makes one.
- Sports England, This Girl Can
This Girl Can is a nationwide campaign to get women and girls moving, regardless of shape, size and ability. The research revealed a huge difference in the number of men and women playing sport. And it’s not because females don’t want to get active. Millions of women and girls are afraid to exercise because of fear of judgement. This campaign was a great way to encourage young British female women to be active in sports without the fear of judgment.
- Lean in, Ban Bossy
Another campaign set on encouraging girls to compete with boys at a young age is Ban Bossy. Beyoncé, Condoleezza Rice, Jennifer Garner, and many more celebs have teamed up with the Lean In organisations to let girls know assertive doesn’t mean bossy. Some of the shocking statistics on their site show that women are twice as likely to avoid taking on leadership positions that might portray them as bossy. This isn’t just in the working world, it starts in the classroom as girls are picked to answer less and interrupted more by others when compared to their male counterparts. By using powerful and influential celebrities to get their message across, the Ban Bossy campaign is showing young girls that ruling the world doesn’t mean you’re bossy: it means you’re awesome.
- Real Beauty, Dove
The Dove Real Beauty campaign was informed by research on female self-esteem, it was incredibly successful in changing an attitude towards beauty. The success shown in the level of engagement from an audience but also the fact that the campaign has been running since 2004. The campaign has changed an attitude towards beauty, now to be a source of confidence, rather than anxiety, amongst women. Each video content produced for the campaign goes viral and sends social media going wild especially the ‘Beauty Sketches’ video. The Dove campaign showed real women, their real beauty. Raw but beautiful.
- HeForShe, UN Women
I originally was alerted to this campaign by the wonderful speech Emma Watson gave, talking about the campaigns goal to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls. Their mission is to make people everywhere understand and support the idea of gender equality. They know it’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue. It’s goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.
Personally I really enjoy that tackling an issue has become a primary purpose and selling a product is now becoming a secondary purpose in ad campaigns. It’s refreshing. I’m sure there are many more campaigns I have missed. Feel free to put suggestions below!