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Marketing Featured ANZ

One Green Bean’s initiative to empower women to take control of their career conversations

Australia – In celebration of International Women’s Day, full-service earned media agency One Green Bean have launched an initiative with Simone Gupta, CEO at One Green Bean Australia and Kat Thomas, founder and ECD at One Green Bean; which will offer a full day of 30-minute ‘coaching over a cuppa’ sessions, to help women in the comms industry have career-related conversations that really matter.

For Gupta, if they can offer women a fresh perspective on their current situation, help them have a tough conversation with confidence or just help them weigh up whether the grass might be greener, the kettle is ‘officially on’.

“Championing women is something I am extremely passionate about. In my experience, the formula for retaining women isn’t difficult; women want more job satisfaction, more meaningful work, better recognition and to be rewarded with the right pay and benefits. This is very achievable, but it’s sometimes harder for women to make it a reality, which should not be the case in 2022,” Gupta said.

Meanwhile, Thomas said that they want to use their several decades’ worth of experience – as both employers and employees – to give women insights into how to tackle the critical conversations that can push them closer to achieving their ambitions.

“The age of the ‘stick or quit conundrum’ is upon us. I put this down to a complex combination of having ambition and wanting more, but hesitating. I hold the confidence gap responsible for this. In my experience, hesitancy and self-doubt go hand in hand, feelings that disproportionately affect women. Whilst talent is on an equal footing, men are far more likely to push for higher pay, career progression and more flexibility than women do,” she said.

The new initiative is a response to new research commissioned by One Green Bean, which reveals that many female marcomms staff are grappling with the stick or quit conundrum. The majority (54%) of female employees are unsure whether their current employer is the best place for their career while almost a third (32%) do not believe their employer is invested in their career development. This uncertainty has led to half (50%) of women saying they are unsure whether they should stick with their current employer or quit.

Interested participants can reach out to Gupta and Thomas via email.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

TikTok SG launches live series in observance of International Women’s Day

Singapore – As part of the celebration for International Women’s Day, short video platform TikTok in Singapore has announced a series of live events under the “#WhenWomenWin” which will spotlight inspirational women who have made a home on the platform to share their heartfelt stories, channel good vibes, and champion the causes that matter most to them.

For the platform, TikTok has certainly blossomed into a space where women from all walks of life can speak their truth, break barriers, and empower others – all while celebrating the extraordinary changes that come to life. These include young female entrepreneurs, coders, rising stars in the local music scene, to changemakers shedding light on the often-unspoken realities of burns and chronic illnesses.

The live series will be scheduled from 1 to 8 of March. The lineup will feature content creators jewellery brand XVXII owner Vidhi, actress Julie Tan, polytechnic student Tammie Ong who spreads awareness on rare diseases, Anytime Fitness’ sales rep and salsation instructor Syakirah Syazwana, mando-pop R&B songstress Soph T, educational and motivational content creator Adeline Tay, full-time retail associate Nur Amirah Arman who spreads awareness about the blood condition called Thalassaemia, as well as radio DJ and host Germaine Leonora.

Other participants include full-time software developer Ainul Mohamed Razib, publishers Nicole Lim and Kimberly Ho who are known for their sites “Our Grandfather Story” and “Something Private”, callisthenics coach Charlene Chew, and Safe Place founder Jennifer Heng.

In a statement to MARKETECH APAC, Doreen Tan, user and content operations manager at TikTok Singapore, said, “TikTok has become a home for championing positivity and authentic expression, as we provide an inclusive space that uplifts and celebrates the successes of our amazing community.”

She added, “We continue to be inspired by our very own female creators from Singapore, who have made a huge impact on our community in their own unique way, whether it’s guiding young entrepreneurs, shedding light on important social issues, or creating a safe environment for others to share their truth. We are certainly looking forward to the line-up of speakers featured in this year’s International Women’s Day LIVE programming, and welcome everyone to tune in for their incredible stories.”

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Marketing Featured ANZ

Aussie org partners with BMF to launch campaign against gender disparity

Australia — Women for Election, a for-purpose and non-partisan organisation with a mission to inspire and equip more women to enter politics, has launched a new campaign entitled ‘Power Like You’ve Never Seen’ to combat gender disparity in opportunities and representation in the country.

The campaign, created in collaboration with BMF and supported by UN Women Australia, encourages Australians to rethink the face of power and support a new era of female political leadership by calling on Australians to question their ideas of what power looks like and to urge more women to become political representatives.

The campaign includes a hero 60-second TVC which features traditional and stereotypical ideas of what power has historically looked like including a name on a building, a title, a suit, a large desk, a spinning chair, and a statue with a plaque on it. The ad asks women to be part of the redefinition of power and change what power looks like by becoming part of it.

In addition, a series of digital out-of-home ads will air across billboards in Australia with the slogans ‘Power Like You’ve Never Seen’ and ‘If You Care, You’re Qualified’ as well as a print advertisement championing a new era in leadership. The TV, OOH and print are further supported by PR, Social & Influencer as well as a microsite. The campaign launches on 7 February on television, social and digital out-of-home around the nation.

Licia Heath, women for election CEO, commented, “Australians are ready for more women in office; in order to make that vision a reality in future elections, we need to change our idea of what power looks like in Australia. We’ve seen women reclaim it by marching in Canberra, and now we want them to exercise it by taking a seat in each of Australia’s political chambers, be that Council, State or Federal.”

Pia Chaudhuri, executive creative director at BMF, said that gender equality is 134 away in Australia, which means no one will ever see a gender-equal society. She continued that the fastest way to reduce this number is to get more women into public office – to give them a seat at the table where legislation is created, and major societal decisions are made. Chaudhuri said that with more women in power, the country can bring this number down to 10 years but the challenge is inspiring women to take up these positions in the first place.

“We realised the reason most women don’t enter politics is simply that, for centuries now, power has been branded as male. So, we decided the only way we’ll ever truly achieve our goal, is to rebrand power itself. To make familiar symbols of power outdated, making way for a more inclusive brand of power. This is obviously a huge ambition. That’s why this is the start of a 10-year campaign – one that will only finish when we’ve reached gender equality. Ultimately, we want both the platform and concept of ‘Power Like You’ve Never Seen’ to become redundant in the not-so-distant future,” Chaudhuri said.

Mandy Galmes, managing director and partner at Sefiani Communications Group, also shared her thoughts, saying, “Forget business-as-usual. Australians are turning their eyes to the future and want nothing as usual. As a nation, we are ready for a new era of gender equity in political leadership. To achieve this we need to reconsider what traditional power looks like and support women around the nation who have the leadership skills and experience to play an active part in our political future.”

“At Sefiani we pride ourselves on being agents of change, and that means doing work that matters for positive change-makers. We are excited to be working alongside Women for Election, BMF and Havas to advocate change for a better future,” Galmes said.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

India’s ad watchdog launches new probe on female representation in advertising

Mumbai, India – To help brands and agencies create campaigns with inclusive gender narratives, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) in collaboration with management consulting company Futurebrands has launched the ‘GenderNext’ study, which aims to give actionable insights in representing women in advertising.

The ‘GenderNext’ study includes patterns of female portrayals across multiple categories, such as personal care, fashion, beauty, home and hearth, gadgets and wheels, money, and education. The study presents insights on how advertising portrays women versus how they see themselves and want to be seen.

The study interviewed various women across different life stages and town classes, and according to them, they feel that advertising can be their ally in this journey. The study found that for young unmarried women, common stereotypes used in advertising such as women joyfully undertaking the drudgery of work have not been aspirational for them at all.

“Typical women’s day ads that show women emerge victorious after significant struggle were not considered particularly empowering. Women are tired of ads showing young women being bestowed with freedoms only after putting up a fight,” the study stated.

In line with such misportrayals, the study proposes a category agnostic framework known as the ‘SEA (Self-esteemed, Empowered, Allied) Framework’ that aims to guide stakeholders in imagining as well as evaluating portrayals of women in their advertising by building empathy and aiding evaluation.

The study also proposes a 3s screener for scripts and storyboards, casting, styling to identify stereotype red flags. The screener looks at aspects of subordination, service, and standardization, and solves these negative stereotypes through the lens of self-esteem, empowerment, and alliance.

For Lipika Kumaran, lead author at GenderNext, the study has exposed that mainstream advertising still heavily borrows from an inventory of overused, and sometimes harmful stereotypical tropes.

“A detailed study of over six hundred advertisements revealed several problematic tropes- such as sensualizing the act of eating by women, showing women as spenders in financial advertising, women running around the house while others lounge around, male gaze acceptance in beauty ads, showing women as lower down in tech-hierarchy in gadget ads, male celebrities challenging and instructing women, among others,” Kumaran explained.

Meanwhile, Subhash Kamath, chairman at ASCI, noted that said study acts as a guide for stakeholders – brand owners, marketers, advertising professionals – to aid the creation of more progressive depictions of women in advertising.

“The deep insights on women, and what they feel about advertising is a fantastic input into advertising creation, and we hope that brands and advertisers will be motivated by the findings to depict women in more progressive ways. We also intend to set up a task force to evaluate advertising guidelines on harmful stereotypes,” Kamath stated.

Furthermore, Santosh Desai, managing director at Futurebrands commented that the study has identified some common patterns of discrimination and has also created a framework that enables marketers to identify and eliminate such undesirable representations.

“As an influential form of popular culture, advertising has historically been a significant source for the propagation of gender stereotypes. While things are changing, what this study, initiated by ASCI and carried out by Futurebrands uncovers, is that gender continues to be represented in a skewed and discriminatory manner. Some obvious ways of stereotyping are less visible, but there are many other ways, both subtle and not-so-subtle, in which gender portrayals continue to be skewed,” Desai concluded.

For this study, the primary research involved ad clinics with 160 respondents and 20 focus group discussions across 10 centers, in addition to tapping into Futurebrand’s proprietary study Bharat Darshan. More than 300 people were spoken to via social media.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

This newly-designed veil represents Pakistan’s battle against breast cancer

Karachi, Pakistan – Pakistan has the highest rate of Breast Cancer in Asia, with over 90,000 cases of breast cancer reported every year, and 1 in 9 Pakistani women have become a breast cancer patient at some stage of her life. And devastatingly, almost half of these women die. 

A major reason for this high number is not just the lack of awareness but also the cultural taboo and stigma associated with the topic of women’s breasts in Pakistan – a mere discussion is considered immoral. Women hesitate to get their breasts checked or even check themselves on the grounds of modesty – and this becomes a major barrier in the early prevention of the disease.

In a bid to combat this stigma, locally-recognized fashion designer Ali Xeeshan and BBDO Pakistan have worked on a new campaign called ‘The Veil of Care’ where they have created a veil or locally known as a dupatta, historically known in South Asia to safeguard a woman’s modesty by covering her breasts. The veil will serve as an active reminder with instructions on how to check oneself, all while emphasizing that this action is not at the compromise of modesty, but well within its bounds. 

The dupatta is designed with traditional embroidered motif patterns that incorporate a ribbon, and also features poetry from pink warrior Asma Nabeel along its borders. ‘The Veil Of Care’ comes with a small booklet knotted into a corner, a traditional ritual in which women knot the corner of their dupattas to hide valuables in, that explains in English and Urdu the correct way to check your breasts. The veil is made available in stores and online, and all of the profits from the sales of these dupattas will go to breast cancer patients at the country’s top hospital, Shaukat Khanum Memorial.

“In South Asia, the dupatta is a symbol of modesty and to protect this modesty, women often hesitate to check themselves. So, I designed a new kind of veil that not only serves the purpose of guarding women’s modesty but also gives them a reminder that they should take care of their health too,” Xeeshan said.

To ensure that the campaign’s reach was national, the clothing brand GENERATION launched a further design rendition of the dupatta to make it more accessible to all women in Pakistan.

“As a womenswear brand, women’s health issues have always been very close to our heart. Although we have been conducting annual Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns for many years, this year we decided to take our commitment a step ahead. We’ve joined hands with Ali Xeeshan to bring you a one-of-a-kind dupatta for which we’ll be donating all profits to the Shaukat Khanum Hospital,” said Khadija Rahman, creative director at GENERATION.

Meanwhile, Ali Rez, regional ECD at Impact BBDO and BBDO Pakistan, commented, “This was an intensely personal project for the team. Our heartfelt gratitude to everybody who helped in making it happen, especially pink warrior Asma Nabeel who is currently battling the disease. It is our hope that this meaningful project spreads as much awareness as possible and saves lives.”

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Marketing Featured Global

Avon’s new campaign stresses the importance of every woman’s story

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.

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Marketing Featured South Asia

Uber India, Dentsu Webchutney launch #WithinHerReach campaign

New Delhi, India – The Indian arm of the ridesharing platform Uber and dentsu international’s digital agency arm Dentsu Webchutney has launched a new campaign called ‘#WithinHerReach’ which aims to make work opportunities closer and accessible to women.

The latest campaign is released as a print ad on the first page of the national newspaper The Hindustan Times and has already started leading narratives on the subject across LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and among key decision-makers from the workforce.

#WithinHerReach, originally launched by the two companies last year, was in response to the fact that 3 in every 5 women limit their career opportunities within a radius of 1 kilometre from their respective homes – even at the cost of a higher paying job. Evidently, this highlighted the stark gender commute gap among the country’s workforce. 

In response, Uber has decided to drive conversations that support work from home (WFH) as a consistent option for women, driven by the current global states of the world due to the global pandemic. 

“2020 has been a year to forget but it did have one silver lining. More Indian women entered the workforce during the pandemic-induced lockdown, attracted by the possibilities of working remotely and on flexible hours,” said Sanjay Gupta, marketing director for APAC at Uber.

He added, “Participation of women in India’s workforce rose to 37% as of July-end from 30% in April. As we enter the new normal, let’s continue to fuel this momentum and make flexible work and WFH essential elements of corporate India.”

Speaking about the campaign, Priyanka Borah, vice president at Dentsu Webchutney said, “It’s safe to say that geography is history. With WFH and remote-working opportunities, fewer women will feel compelled to drop out of the workforce. And as a result of this, more women will grow into senior leadership roles. It’s taken a pandemic for us to get here – but it’s important we seize this silver lining to move forward.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

NTU SG launches new program to encourage STEM education, career among women

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 [email protected], 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 [email protected], 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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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SG’s telemed platform HiDoc launches an app for women’s health and wellness

Singapore – HiDoc, a healthcare technology start-up in Singapore that provides web-based and mobile app solutions, has officially launched community platform Nectar, which is an app dedicated to women’s health and wellness.

Nectar is a web-based application that carries an ‘Ask the Expert’ function, enabling users to receive answers to health and wellness-related queries. 

HiDoc said Nectar was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic when HiDoc Co-Founders Dr. Christina Low and Carolyn Goh noticed a rising trend on the HiDoc platform. During the circuit breaker period in Singapore in particular, which is the country’s stay-at-home order in April of last year, HiDoc saw a significant spike in the number of teleconsultations and inquiries from the women’s community. 

“We want to empower women with the right knowledge to achieve optimal health through self and preventive care. Nectar aims to catalyze the formation of a community, backed by experts focused on supporting women in their health and wellness journey. It is a place for ladies to comfortably share their experiences and walk their life journey together,” said Dr. Low.

Users of the app will have access to a huge amount of health and wellness content curated specifically to their profile. They can expect weekly articles on key healthcare topics written specifically for each member. Furthermore, users will have exclusive access to health webinars to keep them informed of prevailing health issues for women. Through the app, they will also be able to access personalized health and wellness plans designed for them.

Goh shared that HiDoc is already building up the platform to include machine learning algorithms to show relevant content and conversations that are based on the various data points that members have input in the platform.

“Nectar is an online community platform that HiDoc has created for women. We built Nectar to foster a trusted and safe haven for women to learn more about their wellbeing from experts and other women sharing their experiences,” said Goh.

Following the initial soft launch in January, Nectar has currently accumulated 3,000 downloads.

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Technology Featured East Asia

Creative agency AnalogFolk launches AI tool version for women empowerment

Hong Kong – Digital creative agency AnalogFolk announced the launch of Bigup.Ai 2.0, an AI tool that aids to empower women, especially about societal issues and influence-related success. 

Having launched a beta version in the past eight months, the agency said the AI tool features a much bolder and visually-appealing interphase.. Concept questions such as “Tell us about a strength?” act as motivation starters, and can be improved or “bigged up” by using more confident and assertive language. The AI tool also features a quote suite, updated by the AnalogFolk team. Topics such as job rejection and COVID-19 burnout are covered, all with a positive note. The quote suite can be accessed through Analogfolk’s social media pages and their own Pinterest board.

The tool, which is developed by  Microsoft LUIS Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning technology, ‘reads’ skills found on the user’s uploaded CV and analyzes it to deliver a more expressive and assertive personal brand for the user.

Anna-Louise Gladwell, managing director at AnalogFolk and leader of the Bigup.Ai 2.0 development, commented that tool’s development is a response to many women in their leadership and work roles feeling ‘small’ due to failures of getting a new job, and hopes that the tool will aid such women to boost their professional image and their overall persona.

“COVID-19 has exacerbated a systemic social issue of female confidence, self-promotion and career advancement. So BigUp.AI is here to remind women of their value and help them find the words to express it,” Gladwell stated.

For Chris Ryan, managing partner at AnalogFolk Asia, the recent tool launch speaks about gender gap issues such as pay gap across Asia, and should be improved in every way possible.

“We feel that with more confidence and assertiveness, that picture can change in the months and years to come, starting with how women talk about themselves. AI is a powerful tool which can help to support this,” Ryan commented.

Created by an all-women team in the course of eight months, AnalogFolk’s newest AI tool launch coincides with the International Women’s Day 2020, and hopes to create more tools in the near future for women empowerment.