The India chapter of International Advertising Association (IAA) organised a one day gender sensitization seminar - Violence of Women (VoW) - saw the coming together of advertising heads, advocacy groups and film and television personalities to share and discuss their points of view on the subject.
Srinivasan Swamy, President, IAA, said, “We are delighted to have been able to bring together people from television, feature films and advertising. The people who are content creators hopefully have been sensitized in the way they think about portraying women in various forms of content. I do believe the seminar went well and over all it has been a satisfying day.”
Monica Tata, Hon. Secretary, IAA, who also moderated the discussions, said, “IAA’s initiative has been a resounding success. It was put together with an objective of highlighting the need of gender sensitivity across media platforms be it advertising television and films. I think we have managed to make a great start. I hope we are able to continue with the same fervour in the months to come.”
The event featured presentations and panel discussion on various topics surrounding the issue.
Speaking as part of a panel, Prof. Anjali Monteiro, professor and dean, School of Media and Cultural Studies, TISS, said, “Violence against women is a matter of the exercise of patriarchal power. We need to affirm the rights of women to dignity, to access public space and to be agents of their own making.”
“Education and skills would help empower women and bring them into leadership roles leading to gender equality,” pointed out Anuja Gulati, State Programme Officer, United Nation Population Fund.
As part of her presentation, Dr A L Sharada, Programme Director, Population First, said, "It is really encouraging to see the response of the advertising fraternity to the issue of projection of women in advertisements. Often communication is influenced by the internalized gender issues and perceptions. If we have more opportunities to dialogue and discuss the message, we would be able to make advertising more gender sensitive. I believe VoW is a very positive step in this direction.”
Commenting on the impact of media and advertising have on people’s view on women, Sangeetha Narasimhan, Executive Creative Director, R K SWAMY BBDO, explained, “Content in media and advertising does have an impact on people’s view on women. So content creators need to deal with the subject of women at all times with affection in the heart and put aside lust. Only then will we begin seeing some degree of positive movement in attitudes to women.” K V Sridhar (Pops), National Creative Director, Leo Burnett, highlighted, “Ignorance is the worst enemy. The advertising community needs to be more sensitive. Can’t afford to be damaging to society.”
Josy Paul, Chairman and National Creative Director, BBDO India, as part of his – ‘I have a confession’ presentation at the event, said, “I am evolving in my effort to be more sensitive. I am trying to create a new reality, where brands evolve with deeper sensitivity, where equality and inclusion are part of greater growth and a better world.”
Sharing her insights, Geeta Rao, Creative Director, Geeta’s List, pointed out, “Communication is critical and gender sensitization is imperative in advertising. Sensitisation does not mean sanitization, sensitization does not mean glorification, we have to find ways to break stereotypes in an engaging way.”
Sonal Dabral, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, DDB Mudra, feels that the only way we in the media industry can become more responsible and sensitive towards gender portrayal issues is by stopping, reflecting and acting with conscience. “For this reason VoW is a wonderful effort and it has been a privilege being a part of this initiative,” he added.