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Thank you Trump – for FEMPOWERMENT’s second coming

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2016 was a year of colossal change…Brexit, Trump and on a personal level baby number two arrived. Admittedly in my bubble, the year was much of a blur – but it would seem for the rest of the world these major global events had a phenomenal and unprecedented impact. Returning to work this year, the aftermath of Brexit and Trump is still felt but being a glass half full girl, in my view there is one thing we have Trump to thank for – and that is Fempowerment’s second coming.

Gender was high on the agenda of the 2015 Cannes Lions Festival and Awards. Heralding the year of ‘Girlpowerment’ or ‘Fempowerment’ as I like to call it, five of the Cannes Lions Grand Prix winners addressed a women’s issue (Always – #LikeAGirl ; Under Armour – I Will What I Want; Procter & Gamble India – Touch the Pickle; Vodafone Istanbul – ‘Red Light App’ for Domestic Abuse and Sport England – This Girl Can) and the new Glass Lion award recognised communications that tackled issues of gender inequality. Typically in the way things come and go as the year progressed, momentum for these fantastic social causes waned and heading into 2016 ‘Fempowernmernt’ was a bit of an afterthought…until Trump came on the scene that is.

Trump has riled the world into protest, whether addressing issues of women’s right, racism or human rights. Apparently in New York, “Protest is the new brunch”, which is not a very New York thing to say, so if there’s one positive we can take from Trump’s presidency it’s the fact he’s rousing, largely, the first world from its apathy and we’re already seeing the result of this permeate through the marketing and PR industries. Recognising the power of the female pound or dollar, this year has already seen a number of campaigns that address women’s issues, go live.

So far, Sport England’s celebrated and now iconic ‘This Girl Can’ campaign has made a return and looks to deliver, in its own words, “a kick right in the stereotypes”. Across the water, BBDO New York, launched a new public awareness campaign, “Put her on the map”, to encourage cities and corporations to put women on the map by naming streets, statues and buildings after influential female figures. Despite women making up 50% of the population, most streets, monuments and landmarks are still named after men. Hitting Trump where it really hurts, just this week Nike, Middle East, has launched a bold campaign to celebrate female athletes, an extension of its wider ‘Equality’ campaign. It sees women from a range of fields including Parkour trainer Amal Mourad, boxer Arifa Bseiso, singer Balqees Fathi and boxer Arifa Bseiso showcasing their skills. Figure skater Zahra Lari also takes a starring role. The ad also seeks to shine a spotlight on women who have achieved success against all odds and in some cases cultural expectations.

We know it’s not just about being, but meaning – and brands serving a higher purpose is not ‘new’ news, regardless, with my glass half-full view I applaud these businesses and organisations for taking sides – the right side, the one that makes this a better world. So thank you Trump because ironically your misogyny has awoken our inner feminist making women a force to be reckoned with once more.

Amaya Alvarez,
Associate Director

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