International Women’s Day 2017 – Who Was Bold for Change?

As a company that has been tracking International Women’s Day for years, this year’s event was the biggest we’ve seen to-date. The day catapulted to a global stage, in part, due to events like January’s Women’s March on Washington, which not only served as a catalyst, launchingawareness of women’s rights to new levels, but also unified individuals of all genders, races and backgrounds around women’s rights all over the world. Building off of that momentum, the march’s organizers rallied around International Women’s Day, calling for #ADayWithoutWomen, asking those who could to go on strike from work and refrain from spending money to show the world what the workplace - and the economy - would look like without equal female participation. Companies and other organizations found ways to boldly communicate their commitments to women, building on the already-unstoppable momentum of the day. Here’s a roundup of efforts that caught our eye:

  • In a powerful visual, the Wall Street firm, State Street Global Advisors erected a statue of a girl named “Fearless,” staring down the iconic charging bull that has become a symbol of financial prosperity. Fearless was created in an effort to raise awareness of the need for diversity in the financial industry and on corporate boards.
  • Brands and NGOs such as Western Union and ONE highlighted gender parity. ONE launched its #GirlsCount campaign to draw attention to the enormous gap in female education (130 million girls not in school around the world) and addressed the United Nations to urge world leaders to champion the issue. Western Union, an official brand partner of International Women’s Day, created a video of five girls from around the world “racing” to become the first “female president, female to run the United Nations” and more. The central message of the effort is that the key to any accomplishment is education.
  • Some brands went “global” to challenge traditional gender roles. Nike Women and United Colors of Benetton featured women from Russia, Turkey, the Middle East and India in films that depict overcoming cultural barriers to gender equality. Nike Women sent the message that passion for sport knows no gender while Benetton’s #UnitedByHalf campaign challenged its male consumers with images of women in powerful roles defying tradition.
  • Still, other brands challenged traditional gender roles with simple, but powerful images and words. Mitsubishi honored female drivers and Burger King paid homage to its Burger Queens. In a continuation of its #StrengthHasNoGender campaign, Brawny exchanged its iconic male mascot for powerful women, including WNBA player Swin Cash and firefighter Maureen Stoecklein, to demonstrate that resilience and strength are not qualities limited to men.
  • Finally, there were those campaigns that made it easy to get involved and make an instant impact. Dating app, Tinder, along with Pledgeling.com, provided a simple and impactful way to contribute to women’s equality with its #FundHerCause campaign. All that was necessary was to tweet @Tinder with an issue pertaining to women’s rights and the hashtag #FundHerCause, and Tinder donated $100 to the charity of your choice, up to $250,000.

The call to action around this year’s International Women’s Day was to “Be Bold for Change.” And although bold actions were in no short supply, it is important to remember that for true change to take place, these bold actions must turn into bold movements that don’t start and end with one moment in time. So, how are we going to continue to Be Bold for Change in 2017 and beyond? Our work is just getting started.  

By: Erin O’Neil, Account Supervisor