- Procter & Gamble (P&G) is co-hosting the first-ever #SheIsEqual Summit in partnership with Global Citizen and the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) #SeeHer initiative on Sept. 28, per a news release. The event will focus on accelerating gender equality in marketing and will be held in conjunction with Global Citizen Week during the UN General Assembly's 73rd session.
- Featured speakers span the policy, entertainment and private sectors, and include Reese Witherspoon, Katie Couric and P&G's own Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard. P&G brands Always, Secret and Olay will sponsor the Hello Sunshine x Together Live Tour, an experience dedicated to inspiring conversations targeted at intersectional, intergenerational women. Witherspoon is the founder of Hello Sunshine. Topics will touch on the current state of female representation, the importance of including female viewpoints in advertising and the media and how organizations are helping support women in the industry.
- The ANA's #SeeHer program will focus discussions around the importance of accurate portrayals of women and young girls in the media. The group, which includes more than 70 marketers, plans to increase accurate portrayals of women and girls in advertising and entertainment 20% by 2020. The year marks the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in the U.S. Social media users can follow the summit's conversations and developments using the hashtags #SheIsEqual, #WeSeeEqual and #SeeHer.
With the summit, P&G is further advancing its efforts to promote gender equality as part of a broader brand positioning strategy. The packaged goods giant first announced #SheIsEqual at the Cannes Lion advertising festival in June, along with several other gender equality-focused initiatives, including collaborations with Queen Collective to create a pipeline of female directors and increase racial diversity behind the camera and Katie Couric Media to produce empowering content.
Several P&G brands have earned industry recognition for campaigns centered around women's empowerment. Always, a line of feminine products, debuted a #LikeAGirl platform in 2014 that has continued to be successful by challenging ideas around what young women can or can't do, for example.
Brands like P&G expanding their commitment to depicting positive portrayals of women and girls follow recent cultural movements centered on female empowerment, such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, and come as more consumers are expecting brands to take stances on important social issues. Millennial and Gen Z consumers, groups highly coveted by marketers, also show a lower tolerance than other generations for brands that still feature outdated gender roles in campaigns.
P&G has pledged to include a female director on any triple-bid commercial project as part of its commitment to the Free the Bid initiative. Alcoholic beverage giant Diageo similarly committed to Free the Bid in February, encouraging ad agencies and other content producers to feature at least one female director as part of their creative bidding process.
However, marketers have continued to come up short in terms of gender representation both in consumer-facing marketing campaigns and in their leadership. The ANA, in a study published in May, reported that 45% of its member-side organizations had female CMOs despite the marketing industry being "overwhelmingly" female overall. Drilling further down into the marketing leadership figures, the trade group found that racial diversity scored worse for member companies, with only 13% of CMOs or equivalent roles being held by people of color.