Press Release: UN Women Launches Australian Advertising Alliance To Eradicate Harmful Stereotypes In The Industry

SYDNEY – 8 November 2021 – UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and Women’s Empowerment, is today launching the Australian chapter of the Unstereotype Alliance, as part of a global coalition to tackle harmful stereotypes in advertising and media content.

The Unstereotype Alliance is a thought and action platform that unites the influence of the advertising, media, and marketing community as a force for good. The Australia National Chapter launches with a core group of 21 leading businesses in the advertising and media community with the objective of securing actionable commitments from across the industry. Global Champions of the Alliance, Unilever, IPG and Mars, will lead the charge with Westpac and Coles joining as National Champions.

COVID-19 has surfaced ingrained inequalities that perpetuate in the Australian advertising landscape, spotlighting ongoing social and economic injustices impacting minority and marginalised groups across the community.     

The overarching strategic intent of the chapter is to use advertising as a force for good by depicting progressive portrayals of all people, and ensuring diversity is a priority throughout the entire creative process. The initiative will adopt an intersectional approach to address the representation of gender, race, ethnicity and ability in media and advertising content.

The Australian advertising industry plays a fundamental economic role in society – contributing approximately AU$17.3 billion in spend to drive AU$40 billion to the Australian economy and employing over 200,000 people. This Alliance seeks to unite the collective impact of this investment together with the impetus of Global champions, members and allies.

Ms. Sima Bahous, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women commented: “The Australia national chapter is the 10th chapter of the Unstereotype Alliance and this launch marks a significant milestone in the journey of the Alliance. I am pleased to see this growing footprint as I firmly believe in the need for on-the ground work to drive impact. I congratulate and welcome all the founding members of the Australia national chapter for taking the bold step of embracing the mission and using advertising as a force for good to eliminate harmful stereotypes in all media and content.”

“Representation of our community in advertising and media content is critical to creating an equal and open society. One of the best ways to ensure that is to have representation across the advertising, marketing, tech and media industry. This group of leaders is coming together to enact real, meaningful change that will impact Australia for the better.” Said Simone Clarke, CEO UN Women Australia.

Leveraging the reach of the United Nations’ 193 Member States, the Unstereotype Alliance provides a global connectedness for members with a shared commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5 for gender equality.  The National Chapters drive change at a local level, responding to culturally driven stereotypes, social norms and attitudes. Australia is the 10th National Chapter, in addition to Brazil, Japan, India, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, UAE, and UK.

For more information on the Unstereotype Alliance, visit www.unstereotypealliance.org.

Founding members and allies include: 

Accenture, Bayer Australia, Coles, Diageo Australia, Facebook Australia, Google Australia, IKEA, IPG, Ipsos Australia, Mars Australia, Mastercard Australia, Omnicom, Optus, Publicis Groupe, Salesforce, Snap Inc., Suncorp, Unilever ANZ, WPP AUNZ, Westpac and the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA).

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Nicole Sparshott, CEO Unilever Australia & New Zealand said:

We reach so many people every day, with our brands, through our products and our communication. We have both a responsibility and an opportunity to dismantle the stereotypes that perpetuate bias and cap potential, creativity and agency. We must be a voice for all individuals not just a few.

Anathea Ruys, CEO UM Australia, representative for IPG said:

At IPG we believe our values must be reflected in our everyday actions, from the teams we build, to the content we put into the world. It is our responsibility to our people, clients, consumers and community to challenge the dangers of stereotyping in advertising and media. We’re excited to expand our partnership with UN Woman on the Unstereotype Alliance as a chapter launches in Australia. In doing so we’re honouring the richness of humanity everywhere.

Ben Hill, Marketing Director, Mars said:

As we exit the pandemic there is a real danger of a widening gap in Australia. The role of advertising can either continue to drive a divide or it can fundamentally change the way all Australians are represented. It is critical that we address the dangerous stereotypes in all our marketing communications to better represent our wonderfully diverse nation – to celebrate all Australians and to change what has been built by the generations before us for the better.

Lisa Ronson, CMO, Coles said:

The Unstereotype Alliance is so critical to Australia right now, because the right conversation around harmful gender stereotypes and showing true diversity in advertising and communications, has started and it’s up to Australian business leaders to take it to the next level and truly embed diversity in our communications to reflect an authentic view of Australian society & our customers.

Jenny Melhuish, Head of Brand and Advertising, Westpac said:

Australia is rich in diversity. Our communities represent many relationships, ethnicities, age groups, and gender. It is imperative we see this authentically featured and celebrated in our advertising, acknowledging and being proud of diversity and inclusion of the Australian community.

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The Unstereotype Alliance

The Unstereotype Alliance seeks to eradicate harmful stereotypes from advertising and media to help create a more equal world. Convened by UN Women, the Alliance collectively acts to empower people in all their diversity (including gender, race, class, age, ability, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality) by using advertising as a force for good to drive positive change all over the world.

Since its launch in 2017, the Unstereotype Alliance has built momentum behind notable achievements such as ‘unstereotyped’ judging criteria as part of industry award programmes including Cannes Lions. The Unstereotype Alliance has commissioned original research and developed best practice playbooks and measurement tools to help marketers and agency teams create more progressive unstereotyped communications.

Any media enquiries please contact [email protected].

Champions

Members

Allies

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