At a moment when the world is beginning to more fully acknowledge the power and voice of women, big name brands and organizations are using their influence — and some creative marketing — to shed light on issues such as the gender pay gap and the lack of opportunities for women in STEM.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, HP Inc. has launched a short film and a series of new social impact programs and partnerships that aim to empower women and inspire them to unleash their creativity.
“At HP, we are not only celebrating women who drive us forward, we’re empowering the next generation of female leaders,” said Dion Weisler, President and CEO of HP Inc. “Together we must take action and propel the industry forward through diversity and inclusion. This is not only a week to celebrate women, it’s an ongoing movement.”
The film, the brainchild of an HP Inc. employee in India who wanted to inspire children to explore diverse career opportunities, follows a young girl’s journey as she discovers her passion for creative writing and in doing so finds a new path for herself — one that defies tradition and previously seemed out of bounds.
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“Paro was created to spark discussion about dreaming big and chasing your passions, no matter your background or where you are in the world,” said Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at HP Inc. “We believe powerful stories — told vividly and authentically — can change minds and spark action. International Women’s Day is the time to highlight stories that inspire action.”
To bring more stories like Paro to life, HP has partnered with Girl Rising on a community-driven storytelling challenge designed to elevate voices of people around the world advocating for equality. The challenge will run from April through June 2018, with winners announced on International Day of the Girl Child on October 11. Winners will receive micro-grants and access to mentors via HP and Girl Rising.
“Everything starts with a story and these community-driven projects can serve as a catalyst for impact and long-term social change,” said Christina Lowery, CEO of Girl Rising. “Our partnership with HP will help us elevate more voices and advance equality throughout the world. We look forward to uncovering powerful stories and meeting the inspiration behind them.”
HP is also launching “Stories of Advocacy,” a 15-month partnership to sponsor the Women Deliver Young Leaders program leading up to the 2019 Women Deliver conference. Through this partnership, HP will provide the tools and resources necessary for the young leaders to launch their advocacy platforms and drive change in their communities.
The tech giant has also teamed up with Disney to co-sponsor the Warriors Who Code Challenge, an all-day coding challenge with Black Girls Code to celebrate the premiere of the film, A Wrinkle in Time. HP convened leading female voices in tech and filmmaking to inspire future engineers, scientists, technologists and artists.
Solidaridad is also harnessing visual storytelling to #PressforProgress and amplify the voices of its global Gender Task Force Team. The international development organization has released a new video that emphasizes the role of gender inclusivity in delivering sustainability.
“We need both men and women involved to make a difference,” Njeri Kimotho, Solidaridad’s Gender Task Force Leader, explains. “I know I’ve done my job championing the role of women when a man says, ‘Let that woman speak’.”
Investing in women’s economic potential effectively contributes to sustainable economic growth. In fact, the global female economy is estimated to have more than twice as much growth potential than the markets of China and India together. What’s more, women typically invest 90 percent of their income on things that directly benefit their families such as food, medicine and education.
“When you invest in women, women invest back in their communities. This means better nutrition for children, better access to medical care and better education,” said Previous Greehy, Regional Gender Advisor for Southern Africa. “Empowering women financially has a positive ripple effect across society.”
This sentiment is echoed by Stephanie Donu-Sarpong, West Africa Gender Focal Person for Solidaridad, who explains that investing in women is critical for safeguarding the global economy. “Many of the farmers in Ghana’s cocoa sector are old and aging. Furthermore, many young people are moving to the cities. If we don’t educate women to take over key roles and provide financial incentives for doing so, there will be supply issues in the future,” Donu-Sarpong said.
Meanwhile, BrewDog is taking on the scourge of sexist marketing and the gender pay gap with the launch of Pink IPA.
Satirically dubbed “Beer for Girls,” Pink IPA is the brewer’s iconic Punk IPA dressed up in pink packaging — a jab at the lazy marketing efforts traditionally deployed to target the female market. The brewer will be offering the beer at a 20 percent discount in BrewDog bars to those who identify as women. Pink IPA will also be sold in Ireland, Germany, the US, The Netherlands and South Korea.
With the product being identical to the blue-branded Punk IPA, BrewDog aims to trigger questions about why women continue to earn less than their male counterparts and offer them a discount on the beer equivalent to the gender pay gap.
Over the next four weeks, BrewDog will donate 20 percent (the gender pay gap in the UK) of its proceeds from bottled Pink IPA and Punk IPA to organizations that advocate for gender equality and seek to boost the number of girls interested in a future in STEM industries. They include the Women’s Engineering Society, a charity and professional network that inspires and supports girls and women to achieve their potential as engineers, applied scientists and technical leaders, and 9to5, which aims to build a movement to achieve economic justice by engaging directly with affected women to improve working conditions.
“The fact that the gender pay is still an issue in 2018 shows that a lot of lip service is being paid, but not enough action is being taken to tackle inequality. We want to accelerate change by empowering more women to make their voices heard and calling out industries and employees that need to do more. With Pink IPA, we are making a statement the only way we know how — with beer,” said Sarah Warman, Global Head of Marketing at BrewDog.
As part of the Pink IPA campaign, BrewDog has launched brewdog.com/pink, which provides information on the gender pay gap in different countries, as well as a video featuring women from the business and details on the charities that Pink IPA will support.
CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion — a coalition of 400+ CEOs, university presidents and non-profit leaders — is also doing its bit to kickstart a conversation around gender disparities and unconscious bias. The organization has kicked off a “Check Your Blind Spots” tour during which it will visit 30 corporate offices and universities over the course of 2018.
In a world lacking trust and understanding, collective action from the business community is needed to tackle the biggest issues permeating communities across the country. And employees want to get involved: In fact, 74 percent of people say their job is more fulfilling when they are given opportunities to make a positive impact at work.
At each stop along the tour, CEO Action will immerse students and employees in an audio experience, in which they will overhear conversations that reveal society’s biases. The experience aims to equip visitors with the knowledge and resources needed to help address preexisting biases and better understand their role in advancing diversity and inclusion.