Cannes Lions continues drive to combat harmful stereotyping

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which is part of Ascential plc, has announced that €114,450 of the proceeds from the 2018 Glass Lions: The Lions for Change will be used to fund initiatives furthering research into identifying and combating harmful stereotypes in advertising. The beneficiaries are The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and UN Women’s Unstereotype Alliance.

The Geena Davies Institute on Gender in Media is the first and only research-based organisation working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate, and influence content creators, marketers and audiences about the importance of eliminating unconscious bias, highlighting gender balance, challenging stereotypes, creating role models and scripting a wide variety of strong female characters in entertainment and media that targets and influences children ages 11 and under. The UN Women’s Unstereotype Alliance is a thought and action platform that uses advertising as a force for good to drive positive change. It seeks to eradicate harmful gender-based stereotypes.

Louise Benson, VP Festivals, Cannes Lions, said,

Cannes Lions is committed to supporting the industry drive gender equality by eradicating harmful stereotyping. We recognise that this is something that has to be done from the ground up and we actively support initiatives that share our values on equality and diversity, and together with our own initiatives, See It Be It and #MoreLikeMe, we hope to provide genuine support to the industry by highlighting bias and stereotyping to drive a significant change in attitudes and actions. We’re delighted to be able to give proceeds from our Glass Lions – our Lion for Change – to two such incredible initiatives.”

Last night, Philip Thomas, Chairman of Cannes Lions, and Madonna Badger, Founder/Chief Creative Officer of Badger & Winters and #WomenNotObjects, were on stage at the She Is Equal Summit sponsored by #SeeHer and P&G. As part of the summit they introduced the #SheIsEqual showcase, a compilation of creative work entered into the 2018 Glass Lions. Madonna Badger said,

“It’s an honour to partner with the Cannes Lions, Glass Lion for Change and the team behind the She Is Equal Summit. The Glass Lions #SheIsEqual Creative Showcase has been brought to the Summit to show the power of creativity to illuminate and change gender inequality on every continent. Advertising and social media can create cultural shifts and advocate for all women to be treated and seen as equal, whole, human, and strong. Cannes Lions has done so much to promote gender equality in the global advertising industry, through its See It Be It initiative and the changing of their jury criteria that asks judges not to award work that objectifies or stereotypes women (or men) in anyway. I’m grateful to be part of both of these initiatives, as well as serving as the 2018 Glass Lion for Change Jury President.”

Cannes Lions has also confirmed a continued partnership with Unstereotype Alliance members to develop new guidelines for the jury to consider when judging work submitted to the Festival. From 2019, the jury will be encouraged to reflect upon identifying harmful stereotypes within advertising, building on from the objectification guidelines introduced in 2017.

Speaking about the guidelines, Jennifer Cooper, UN Women Global Coordinator of the Unstereotype Alliance, said,

“This is a very significant contribution to the achievement of our goals on progressive portrayals in advertising. At UN Women, we see a very direct connection between how people are represented in ads and how real people are viewed and treated within their societies. Clarifying what we mean by harmful stereotypes in content can help more people to identify this and to eliminate it. When an important institution like Cannes Lions sets equality as a standard across all of its awards, this sends a strong and clear signal that this is a basic prerequisite for good advertising across the board.”

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