IAA ‘Voice of Change’ concludes on a high note

Industry Watch | August 1, 2022 | News

IAA 'Voice of Change' Gender Potrayal

International Advertising Association (IAA) India Chapter, held a summit on July 29, 2022, titled 'Voice of Change' where the important conversation on gender parity was brought forth in a day of discussions, debates and research findings.

IAA started the journey last year with a research study in partnership with UNICEF, conducted by Geena Davis Institute on gender representation in advertising. Taking their cue from the facts presented in the study, the industry body decided to initiate tangible change through the dialogue required to bring about gender sensitivity amongst the people at the helm of content creation and marketing in India. 

The day started with a compelling address by Poonam Mahajan, MP North Central Mumbai. Her empowering words were followed by a keynote address by Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research.

The day powered on to a session by Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary general Of Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) who dove into the GenderNext report titled Follow Her Lead GenderNext: A Study on Portrayal of Women in Advertising with Knowledge partners ASCI. The report and the resulting frameworks provides an important tool for the industry to improve representation of women in advertising. Following that was a talk by Santosh Desai, MD Futurebrands Consulting who spoke about the cultural perspective of gender portrayal. Next up in this segment was Prasun Basu, Head of Growth and Digital Transformation Kantar, who delivered a session on the Business Case for Progressive Gender Portrayal in Advertising.

The segment concluded with a discussion moderated by journalist, Anuradha Sengupta who spoke to panellists Nitesh Priyadarshi, Vice President Consumer and Market Insights South Asia, Unilever; Deepika Warrier, CMO, Diageo; Tista Sen, Regional Creative Director, Wunderman Thompson SA;  Lipika Kumaran, Author GenderNext | Sr. VP - Futurebrands Consulting and Dr. Falguni Vasavada, Professor, MICA. From discussing the need for normalisation of fair gender portrayals in advertising to highlighting the need for creators to move beyond staid tropes, the panel resulted in several pertinent views.

The post lunch segment of the summit dealt with Gender-Conscious Creativity in Films and OTT, starting off with a session by Dr. Nandita Gandhi, Director, Akshara Centre who presented their efforts of the Gaana Rewrite initiative, with a performance by Shefali Saxena who sang the gender sensitive versions of popular songs.

The next session was by the academician Dr. Lakshmi Lingam Dean and Professor, School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), on the topic Screening Women: Mapping Gender and Work in Hindi Cinema which brought valuable insights like what kind of roles women were seen in, the representation of LGBTQIA+ characters and the fact that female crew members on sets often don't even have access to toilets. 

The second panel discussion of the day, moderated by author, journalist and film critic Anupama Chopra, brought together actor, director, producer and social change advocate Nandita Das; Monika Shergill, VP-Content-Netflix India; national award winning director and producer Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury; and national award winning filmmaker and journalist, Vibha Bakshi.

Atika Farooqui sat down with Zainab Patel, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Pernod Ricard who is a change maker in her own right having championed trans rights throughout her life. The conversations ranged from bringing forth the inaccessibility of everyday opportunities to the stressors of a trans life. The session ended by Patel struck a chord with everyone present. 

Vidya Balan, said, "We know that advertising and all forms of media have immense potential to promote women’s and girls’ empowerment but they also have the potential to harbor harmful stereotypes through unrealistic portrayals of girls and women. Sometimes creative formats also run the risks of reinforcing traditional gender roles and promoting gender discrimination in homes and outside. As a celebrity advocate for UNICEF, I endeavour to continue to advocate on gender equality that fuels aspirations of girls and women and help shift the perceptions of people.”

Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Chairperson, IAA Women Empowerment Committee and Head, Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18 said, “Voice of Change harkens the need of a more sensitised and inclusive narrative in content and all the creative minds present here - content creators, brand custodians and students are the powerhouses behind creating and marketing that content now and in the years to come. The IAA has stepped up and brought all this learning and more out in the public eye and today through this summit takes on the critical role to not only educate and inform but also empower effective change.”

Arjan De Wagt, Officer in Charge, Deputy Representative Programmes - UNICEF India, said, "For UNICEF, gender equity is a critical agenda and foundational for all the work UNICEF does worldwide. For societies to flourish, it is vital to increase the value of girls and that needs to happen right  through her lifecycle. When a woman is pregnant, when a girl child is born, when she is growing... is she getting adequate nutrition, is she given equal opportunities to go to school, is she getting access to basic health care and is she being skilled and empowered. We as a society have to collectively ask ourselves these questions and take actions to change norms that create gender inequalities.”

For editorial related queries, reach us at edit@eventfaqs.com

Popular faces like Vidya Balan, Nandita Das, Deepika Warrier, Santosh Desai, Tista Sen and more were present at the event on July 29, 2022.

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