A day ahead of International Women’s Day, Menaka Gandhi, Women and Child Development Minister, came under fire for her remarks justifying early curfew for girls in hostel. She said, “As a parent who is sending a daughter to a college—or a son—I would expect her and him to be protected. And perhaps one of the protections is against themselves. When you are 16 or 17, you are also hormonally very challenged. So, to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha is drawn,” replying to a college student who asked her about the rationale for having early curfew only for girls in hostels.
In a remarkable coincidence, the Women’s Day campaign #SheforHer from Gypsy Moth, a creative agency based in Bengaluru, launched a digital video campaign that asks women to not pass judgement on each other and instead support each other. In addition to the #SheforHer campaign, this year saw many ads that broke stereotypes and addressed various aspects of women’s empowerment, gender bias, and gender roles.
The digital video campaign begins with a young girl being teased as she walks down a street. An elderly woman watching the events unfold, mumbles to herself, “If she wears such clothes, this is bound to happen.” In the next scene, a female team member abuses her woman boss, calling her ‘bitch’ because of a disagreement between the team and the boss during a meeting. In the final setting, a mother hands over rotis to her daughter and asks her to serve the son-in-law.
The film ends with alternative scenarios playing out. The film suggests: But what if She supports Her? And even when She disagrees, she respects Her? And She tells Her, she isn’t alone.
Explaining the rationale behind the video, Priyanka Chug, Founder and Creative Director, Gypsy Moth, said, “I have always believed that instead of asking men to treat women equally, we need to start doing it among ourselves. If we as a gender can support ourselves, we will be able to achieve a lot more. The message we wanted to send was: why can’t a woman stand for a woman first and then expect others to support us.”
Procter and Gamble addressed the issue of gender bias through its global campaign for International Women’s Day. The video promotes equal pay for equal work. P&G brands in the past have dealt with women’s issues be it Ariel’s #SharetheLoad or Whisper’s #LikeaGirl campaign. The ad calls for equal pay with a simple idea: ‘Equal pay does not care who demands it.” The company in a press release said, “As a Company that understands women and girls, we are leveraging our insights to uncover gender bias and taking actions to spark conversations and set new expectations that motivate change.”
One of the first campaigns intended towards Women’s Day was #NayiSoch released by Star Plus. This ad features actor Aamir Khan as a father and owner of a sweetmeat shop. It reaches out to all the parents who consider daughters as lesser-than-sons. Regardless of the idea being generated by a son or the daughter, it is the idea that matters, which is the ad’s focus point. Talking about the ad, Uday Shankar, Chairman and CEO, Star India, said, “Our latest Nayi Soch film reflects this confidence. It not only questions the gender discrimination that still exists, but also iterates our belief that it is time for fathers to step up and inspire their daughters with confidence and self-belief.”
The next version of Geeta Phogat’s ‘Will of Steel’ campaign is the #EveryWomanStrong campaign launched by JSW on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The video features wrestler and Olympic Bronze medallist Sakshi Malik who believes and pays tribute to all the women who, at some point or the other, had to showcase their strengths. That moment is referred to as the moment when women had to become ‘Sakshi’. #EveryWomanStrong is a campaign handled under the Janam Se Janani Tak initiative by the JSW Foundation. Talking about this initiative to exchange4media, Sukesh Nayak, ECD, Ogilvy Mumbai, said, “Janamn se Janani Tak supports every woman across small villages to stand strong. The idea of Sakshi saluting every Sakshi who fights like her every day and emerges a winner is a perfect way to launch the #EveryWomanStrong initiative.”