The India Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) is initiating a gender sensitisation drive to stop Violence On Women (VOW). The next three months will see a focused effort towards promoting the cause in the form of seminars and a multimedia campaign against ‘eve teasing’.
Srinivasan Swamy, president, IAA India Chapter, said, “Advertisements in our country knowingly or unknowingly focus on gender bias. Some of them focus on all the household work being done by women, some show the importance of looking good in order to feel confident. ‘IAA Gender Sensitisation Drive’ seeks to fundamentally change the deep-rooted bias against women. The initiative has an acronym ‘VOW’ standing for ‘Violence on Women’, which we seek to stop consciously, doing our bit and taking a vow to get rid of this scourge in our society.”
The gender sensitisation seminars will seek to create awareness about the right way to project women across media. This will be done by sensitising writers in film and television, besides print and advertising, to guard against typifying women and on other gender nuances. The tentative spokesperson for the seminars include Sonal Dabral (DDB Mudra), Abhijit Avasthi (Ogilvy & Mather), KV Sridhar (Leo Burnett) and Prahlad Kakkar (Genesis). The first seminar is scheduled to be hosted in Mumbai on 16 February. IAA is hoping to have the Union Minister for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath to inaugurate it. Seminars are also being planned in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune over the next few months.
The second leg of VOW involves a multimedia advertising campaign on ‘eve teasing’. According to IAA, eve teasing has been identified as a critical issue that needs to be addressed. Swamy noted, “Eve teasing is seen as the mother of most evils affecting women. Today’s eve teaser is tomorrow’s molester and could be a future rapist. Hence its necessary to nip this in the bud itself.”
He added, “Research and experience of experts in the field like UNFPA and leading NGOs like Laadli have also suggested this subject as the critical one to be addressed.”
A national contest will invite entries from creative people on how to tackle the issue through effective communication. Entries will be judged by jury drawn from a cross-section of society and NGOs. Post which, IAA will fund the production of the winning entry and leverage media linkages to run it on newspapers and TV channels across India.
Kaushik Roy, chairman, IAA Public Service Committee, said, “Somewhere unknowingly a creative person does make brand communications that daunt the status of women in society. In a period of about three months, we will have concentrated burst of positive attention on the importance of issues confronting women today.”
Pradeep Guha, IAA Regional Director (Asia Pacific), added, “This is yet another instance of the IAA taking the lead and showing how the power of communications could be used for a good cause. This would go a long way in sensitising people on a very important issue.”