IAA takes a gender sensitization VOW

24 Jan,2013

By A Correspondent


Srinivasan K Swamy

Srinivasan K Swamy President of the India Chapter of International Advertising Association (IAA) announced the ‘IAA Gender Sensitization Drive’, which seeks to fundamentally change the deep-rooted bias against women. The drive, termed the ‘VOW’ or ‘Violence on Women’, involves industry members “taking a vow to get rid of this scourge in our society”.


The initiative consists of two segments.



1 Gender sensitization seminars for content creators

The first part of the drive would be to hold a series of seminars across five cities, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune, to sensitize content writers in film and TV, story writers in print media and in advertising, to guard against typifying women and on other gender nuances, and create focused awareness about the right way to project women across media. The seminars are to be addressed by a galaxy of experts in the field and also leading lights of the communications industry. The first one is already scheduled in Mumbai on February 16 which the IAA hopes will be inaugurated by Union Minister of Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath.


Kaushik Roy, Chairman, IAA Public Service Committee, said, “There has been four-fold increase in ad revenues. Advertising remains a buoyant sector despite a flat growth year. There has been 144 percent growth in C&S homes and time spent on advertisements has risen to 96 mins/day according to IRS. Now, this shows what impact advertising can or does have on society. Today many ads tell what women should wear or look like. The personal category, cosmetic, beauty and hair etc have 23,000 spots per day. It is thus necessary to sensitize advertisers and content creators about how to project women.”


2 Multimedia advertising campaign against ‘eve-teasing’

The second initiative is a national advertising campaign that will use the creative resources of the communications industry and the strength of media linkages to address behavioural patterns in a manner that would benefit women. ‘Eve-teasing’ has been identified as the critical issue that needs to be addressed. Mr Swamy said, “Eve-teasing is seen as the mother of most evils affecting women. Today’s eve teaser is tomorrow’s molester, and could be a future rapist. It is necessary to nip this in the bud.” He further added, “Research and experience of experts in the field like UNFPA and leading NGOs like Laadli have also suggested this subject as the critical one to address.”


A national contest will be run inviting entries from creative people all over the country on how to tackle this issue through effective communication. The entries for this contest will be judged by the best creative minds in the communications industry, and a jury consisting of leaders from a cross-section of society and NGOs will then select the winning campaign from the shortlist. The IAA will fund the production of this winning entry, and will use its strong media linkages to run a high-decibel and high-power campaign on all newspapers and TV channels across the country. The call for entries should begin in 10 days.


Mr Roy said, “You will realize that in a period of about three months we will have a concentrated burst of positive attention on the importance of women’s issues. We believe that such an initiative conducted by the entire communications industry led by the IAA will have a very salutary effect on the burning issues confronting women today.”


Pradeep Guha

Pradeep Guha, IAA Regional Director (Asia Pacific), said, “This is yet another instance of the IAA taking the lead and showing how the power of communications can be used for a good cause. This will go a long way in sensitizing people on a very important issue.”


Mr Swamy told MxM India, “Even at our agency (RK Swamy BBDO) we are cautious that our ads do not typify women. Clients should also be aware that resorting to such things will not boost sales.”


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