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Loeries Special Section

#Loeries2019: Welcome UN Women's Unstereotype Alliance SA chapter!

This Women's Day in SA, we welcomed news that the Loeries has joined forces with UN Women's Unstereotype Alliance initiative, to launch its South Africa chapter, set to use the advertising industry as a force for good to drive positive change all over the world. We also learn what to expect from the UN Women South Africa multi-country office's Loeries 2019 masterclass with Dove, on advertising leading society.
Unstereotype Alliance: The problem is not seeing the problem.
Unstereotype Alliance: The problem is not seeing the problem.

While the UN’s #HeForShe campaign is a place where men can feel powerfully emboldened to be part of the feminist movement and the solution to gender equality, as a human rights issue that affects all of us, Anne Githuku-Shongwe, representative at the United Nations Women South Africa’s multi-country office, explains:

The Unstereotype Alliance is focused specifically on the advertising industry, as a challenge to private companies spending billions on advertising to ensure every single advert that goes out does not stereotype or reinforce images of women as weak or as sexual objects, instead promoting the image of the future that we really want: One where gender equality thrives.
But gender equality has to go far beyond just the number of women who sit in high positions, it has to translate to having actual impact on women’s lives.

That’s where the creative industry comes in.

Githuku-Shongwe has been a passionate gender activist for more than 30 years and continues to advocate for gender equality and women empowerment issues.

Anne Githuku-Shongwe, representative at the United Nations Women South Africa’s multi-country office.
Anne Githuku-Shongwe, representative at the United Nations Women South Africa’s multi-country office.

But outside of her UN life, she was an entrepreneur focused on leveraging mobile and developed an app that gamified the need to address gender-based violence called Moraba.

Clearly a strong advocate, Githuku-Shongwe will also be encouraging others by leading a special Loeries 2019 masterclass with Sphelele Mjadu, Unilever Personal Care’s senior PR manager for Africa, on advertising leading society.

Here, Githuku-Shongwe shares what attendees can look forward to from the masterclass, as well as what the local creative industry can do to help reach gender parity, and a more inclusive and representative society overall…

Talk us through your work at UN Women SA and how this ties in with global efforts – what specific challenges do we face on the continent?

The UN Women South Africa multi-country office, based in Pretoria covers South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and eSwatini – formerly Swaziland. The United Nations Women or UN Women is the United Nations’ organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

Global and local focus areas are: Leadership and political participation, ending gender-based violence, women empowerment, women peace and security, youth, governance and national planning, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and HIV and Aids.

The Masterclass talk topic of “advertising leading society” is a great one, with purpose-driven marketing gaining ever-stronger prominence. What can the Loeries masterclass attendees expect from the session?

We expect a robust interaction with participants so all parties can come up with viable solutions and collaboration on ensuring advertising is leading society and changing mindsets, especially on issues of gender.

Gender inequality is a defining reality, but brands can significantly help alter society’s perceptions by changing the way women are represented in all forms of advertising.

This is the message of the Unstereotype Alliance, convened by UN Women, which seeks to eradicate harmful gender-based stereotypes in all media and advertising content.

Together with Dove, in partnership with Getty Images and Girlgaze – a partnership committed to inclusive representation in the media – we'll be discussing gender equality and empowerment of women.

We'll also discuss how brands are able to change the narrative and significantly impact how women see themselves, leading to liberation from narrow beauty definitions and empowerment.

Taking the discourse on how business can set a new standard for the authentic and diverse depiction of women, female-identifying and non-binary individuals to a practical level, through Project #ShowUs, Dove, Getty Images and Girlgaze, have collated a photo stock library of over 5,000 images.

These images are available to media and advertisers everywhere, and with each image used we help shatter beauty stereotypes and serve as a milestone step in leading the inclusive beauty conversation and combatting unhealthy beauty stereotypes.

Love that, definitely one to look forward to. Switching focus back to UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, spoke at the recent Women Deliver conference and was awarded the Cannes LionHeart for her pull towards gender equality. What more can the local creative industry do help reach gender parity, and a more inclusive and representative society?

Become members and champions of the Unstereotype Alliance in South Africa. We have chapters in Brazil, Europe and America. We need members in Africa.
We strongly believe South Africa can be a good example for the continent and we're calling on the creative industry to join the Unstereotype Alliance, like yesterday!
BizcommunityThere’s bound to be lots of uptake. #WomensMonth ties in with the Loeries’ month of August, but is enough done to celebrate women’s successes and highlight their challenges throughout the year?

I think there is good traction on this, as seen from the number of events being organised by government and various sectors and stakeholders, such as the private sector, civil society and the media than 10 years ago… but we have to proactively keep the momentum.

It must be a 365-day movement if we are to achieve gender equality by the set dates of various organisations and governments in their national visions.

If we don’t accelerate the interventions, it will take us another 202 years to reach gender equality and that is not acceptable.

Here’s to the UN Women’s Unstereotype Alliance proving a welcome drive towards better representation in the stories we tell. If you can’t wait for Loeries Creative Week Durban, taking place from 22 to 24 August 2019, keep an eye on the Loeries’ Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds and stay tuned for my interviews and all the latest updates in our Loeries’ special section. You can also follow UN Women on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and YouTube.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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