Is your IWD creative about deeds not words?

Is your IWD creative about deeds not words?

Apparently Paris 2024 is going to be the first gender balanced Olympics.

Which means as many women are competing as men. Which is weird when you consider there are more women than men in the world. The last time the Olympics was in Paris however, the figure was only 5%. So, progress.

Where there’s not been progress - and the figure of 5% rears its head again - is in sports reporting. Reportedly, a mere 5% of media coverage goes to women’s sport.

For me investing in women (IWD’s theme) is about investing not just money but space, effort, and, most importantly, action.

This week a piece of video content from 2016 has been doing the rounds, thanks to being resurfaced by the Female Quotient late last year. It overlays comments made about women (eg “[S]he has the kind of body international judges love”) with footage of men, to show the disparity.

A lot of the time, (amazing) creative is about raising awareness of an issue and that’s great. Ultimately that doesn’t solve things though. 

Received wisdom has fooled us into thinking educating and motivating people changes things but *spoiler alert* they don’t. If they did, the less Olympic of us would always be getting our 30 minutes of exercise in a day because we know it’s good for us. Awareness alone isn’t enough.

For me, action, not just words, across all genders is what’s really going to ring in the changes—in sport and elsewhere. 

That’s why I really like this campaign as a creative prompt to change behaviour. It’s not just about showing the playing field can be unfair (most of us now know that). It’s memorable and therefore it might make journalists (and interviewers of all kinds, and people just having a chat) stop and think twice about what they ask women (and men) in future. Athletes like Andy Murray have stepped up to the allyship mic – this encourages it from the other side.

Back to Paris…L’Equipe, the name of the famous French sports paper meaning team, is a feminine noun. I’d love to see an all-women’s issue to mark the Paris 2024 milestone, an idea I’ve shamelessly lifted and twisted from Fred & Farid’s lovely Libé des Refugees campaign. Although of course, the 5% isn’t something for only L’Equipe to work on. Even better, a wider commitment across the media for 50:50 column inches would sweep, not inch-in, real difference.

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