Sydney, Australia –  The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has recently teamed up with advertising agency Innocean Australia to create an exhibition highlighting the silent extinction facing lesser known Australian sharks and rays.

The remoteness and lack of data about these endangered species gave birth to this campaign, as AMCS asks Aussie kids to lend their imagination to bring these fantastical creatures to life through art of any form.

This latest project continues the successful long-term AMCS strategy of inspiring the next generation of ocean protectors, while also engaging their parents.

Moreover, the project aims to challenge the reputation of sharks and rays as fearsome predators, fostering a new appreciation for their variety of species and fascinating characteristics; the likes of which might not be around for too long if commercial fishing continues at such scale.

The top entries will inspire artworks by 10 of Australia’s most iconic artists, including Ken Done, Jenny Turpin, Janet Laurence, Reko Rennie, Jonathan Zawada, Rosie Deacon, Sarah & Sebastian, Dion Horstmans and Blak Douglas. 

These artworks will be launched and showcased at the ‘Fantastical Sharks & Rays’ exhibition in the Australia Museum from August 2024 to January 2025.

Talking about the project, artist Ken Done, said, “This is a unique project and one that I am immensely looking forward to participating in. If it helps to protect some of the world’s endangered species, that would be a great achievement for us all.”

Dr. Leonardo Guida, shark scientist for the Australian Marine Conservation Society, added, “We are excited to see the imaginative interpretations of these remarkable shark and ray species by the next generation of artists. The fusion of art and science has never been more important as a means to engage and empower the broader community to save our threatened species and ensure healthy oceans for future generations.”

Lastly, Pamela Parrelli, art director, and Charlotte Berry, copywriter at Innocean commented, “Ocean conservation can be a daunting issue – until you start working with the creativity and hope of children. Seeing simple descriptions inspire artworks out of this world is a reminder of the power of pure creativity – far beyond anything a 25 character prompt could deliver in a few seconds. For every artwork, imagine the number of thoughts and conversations between children and parents over these sharks and rays – perhaps changing both perspectives for life.”

Australia – In partnership with the Australian Government, advertising agency BMF has created the first national child sexual abuse prevention campaign, ‘One Talk at a Time’. The campaign demonstrates that together we can create a safer world for our kids, free from sexual abuse, with something as simple as talking to the children in our lives.

‘One Talk at a Time’ calls for a collective effort to prevent child sexual abuse by helping adults understand that the risk of the unthinkable can be reduced significantly, one talk at a time.

Christina Aventi, chief strategy officer at BMF, said, “Child sexual abuse is a subject that’s hard to face let alone talk about. We don’t know how to broach the subject with our kids. This can paralyse us into silence. But silence creates space for people who abuse to come between children and those who protect them, and that is where child sexual abuse can hide. Everytime we talk, we break that wall and fill that ‘space’ with support, taking power away from perpetrators and help prevent child sexual abuse for every child.”

Meanwhile, Tom Hoskins, creative director at BMF, commented, “Bringing an end to child sexual abuse feels like a problem so large and insidious that many of us don’t know where to begin or even if it’s achievable. But reaching a solution as a community may be possible if we start with one talk at a time.”

The integrated campaign is live in Australia across TV, cinema, radio, social, and digital.

Manila, Philippines – To put greater focus on sharing voice and insights from women, global cosmetics company Avon has launched a new campaign that allows women to share their stories, struggles, and successes in their everyday actions.

Called the ‘Avon Watch Me Now’, the campaign is an online gallery hosted at watchmenow.avon.com that features a host of stories reflecting the different experiences of women across the world. These stories range from juggling motherhood and career, to surviving adversities like breast cancer, to overcoming the trauma of domestic violence. 

Included in the campaign is Avon’s commitment to donate US$1 for every story shared in the online gallery to charities that support women to help create a better world for women, which equates to a better world for all. 

“Avon’s mission for this gallery is to create a space where women can speak up, share their stories, and celebrate their achievements. It will collate authentic stories from around the world, showing that women are strong, courageous, and powerful—and should never be underestimated,” said Razvan Diratian, general manager at Avon Philippines.

In addition, the campaign has commissioned research on gathering insights on how women feel generally during these times, and found out that 41% of women have lost confidence as a result of lockdown restrictions, but that hearing everyday, relatable stories and sharing experiences with others helps these same women find strength. 

According to Angela Cretu, CEO at Avon, their research found that 92% of women have felt increased pressure during the pandemic due to various factors such as being unable to see loved ones in person (49%), financial stresses (47%), job security (29%), and homeschooling (24%).

In addition, they also found that half of women (52%) admit they have felt less connected, resulting in feelings of anxiety (44%), isolation (42%), lack of motivation (34%), and self-doubt (20%).

“Despite over half (57%) turning to online platforms to feel connected with their peers, over a quarter (28%) of women admit they feel judged when sharing their own struggles on social media sites, (27%) don’t believe anyone would be interested to hear their story and 40% don’t like to talk about themselves,” Cretu stated.

She added, “Nearly a third say these connections help them overcome challenges (32%) and for over a third (36%), it decreases feelings of anxiety or reduces self-doubt.”

The online archive is the latest in Avon’s long history of supporting causes for women. The company started 135 years ago by fighting for women’s right to work and has since expanded its advocacy to tackle issues such as breast cancer, domestic violence, women’s education, and now gender equality in the media.

Singapore – Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), in a bid to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational opportunities and careers, has launched a new program to persuade women in exploring STEM-related education and career. 

Named ‘Promotion of Women in Engineering, Research, and Science’ (POWERS), the program will aim to recruit and empower women with a long-term goal to increase gender diversity in STEM careers. This will be achieved through creating a supportive ecosystem, conducting research to address barriers, and providing education and skill-building opportunities for career advancement in STEM. 

POWERS was unveiled during the biennial Women in Engineering, Science & Technology (WiEST) symposium, held at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Clinical Sciences Building, at NTU’s Novena campus, which was formally launched in the presence of Singapore president Halimah Yacob and Subra Suresh, NTU Singapore president.

POWERS is driven by Women@NTU, a voluntary initiative co-founded by Sierin Lim, associate dean for global partnerships at NTU Graduate College and Kimberly Kline, associate dean at NTU College of Science. POWERS is also supported by NTU’s College of Engineering, College of Science, and Graduate College.

“Our programs are designed to create a supportive ecosystem to empower women to enter and develop successful careers in STEM industries. We want to provide them with enhanced networking activities, as well as mentoring them towards opportunities in STEM careers,” Lim stated.

Part of the program campaign is the launch of WiEST 2021, which celebrates notable female role models, seeking to inspire and engage women who are considering a STEM career and to connect students with industry partners, with the long-term goal of increasing gender diversity in the STEM workforce.

“The strong support and collaborations with STEM partners, from education, industry, and the government, are essential to the success of the program. Together, we can develop women for future leadership in STEM,” Lim added.

The program launch is in response to the low rate of women engaging in STEM courses. A recent study by NTU shows that from a sample of 738 Singaporeans, only 58% of women who graduated with a STEM diploma or degree went on to work in a STEM field, compared to 70% of men with the same qualifications. This is despite women and men expressing equal career interests consistent with STEM jobs.

Furthermore, the study noted that women who left the STEM career pathway were more likely than men to perceive barriers of inclusion and career advancement. This finding is consistent with other international research which found that women are more interested in STEM education and careers when they believe they belong and can succeed in STEM.

“I believe men can be a compelling catalyst for other men to engage in equitable practices to support women empowerment. We can help provide women with a sense of belonging and purpose in STEM, especially in the male-dominant engineering field. We can create a long-lasting sustainable impact leading to greater diversity and attract more women to pursue their education and careers in STEM,” Louis Phee, dean of NTU’s College of Engineering.

As part of the program, POWERS will be initiated in a three-pronged approach: Connect, Research and Educate. The pilot program will connect students to the STEM community, conduct research to develop data-driven approaches with the local context, and work with educators and the community, to build a supportive ecosystem for women, from pre-university to postdoctoral levels, enabling them to thrive, advance and succeed in STEM.

For Kimberly Kline, co-chair of WOMEN@NTU, the program is designed to empower young women to engage in STEM through leadership training and community building. 

“Our mentors are trained to motivate, support and inspire women to pursue and achieve their goals. We want the next generation of women to view themselves as agents of change as they utilize their STEM education to address global challenges. We are building a community of high-achieving women because we believe that we are stronger together,” Kline stated.


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