What does ‘Feminism’ mean to you?

By Rebecca Fennelly
Feminism is defined as the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

I didn’t identify with being a feminist until quite recently. I’ll be the first person to admit that in the not-too-distant past there were times I thought Feminism (my depiction of it) was hindering gender equality as much as it was helping it.

What has changed for me?
Well, for one thing, I think I am a little less ignorant than I used to be…

What else has changed?
The conversation has changed. The people who are having the conversations have changed. Where these conversations are being had has changed. And most crucially, the action being taken off the back of these conversations is, in my opinion, more palpable, more influential.

With the birth of incredibly powerful movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, gender issues are at the forefront of the global political agenda, more than they have been for a very long time.

I was delighted to be invited along to ‘The Changing Face of Feminism’ event, created and hosted by Ogilvy & Mather and Women In Marketing.

It was a truly fantastic evening that aimed to bring generations and cultures together at this pivotal time to dissect how feminism has evolved and where it is headed. This provoked some hugely insightful and impeccably timed discussions.

I came away from the evening feeling enlightened and energised. Here are just some of my main take-aways:

1. Lisa Jedan, Global Head of Brand PR at Bacardi-Martini told us that traditional views of gender are moving faster in CULTURE than they are in ADVERTISING, and this is happening at a time when brands are trying to reach women more than ever.

2. Ella Dolpin, CEO of Shortlist Media, asked “Are we at risk of creating a dialogue that makes men afraid to have an opinion about women’s rights?”. She discussed how that was not a solution we needed.

3. Victoria Buchanan of The Future Laboratory revealed estimations say it is going to take 116 years until the global pay gap between men and women is closed. This gap exists everywhere, and it is WIDENING for the first time since records began.

4. Cindy Gallop’s presence at the event was felt as her ever-powerful and relevant words – directed squarely at the ad industry – were put on big screen during the panel session – “Stop Talking About It, Start Doing It. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is”.

Throughout an evening of discussion and debate, opinions differed, disagreements were had, and conversations got heated. But one thing remained clear throughout: Unity amongst us all is crucial.

Whatever your definition of feminism is, whatever your skin colour, age, religion, sexual orientation, what we need now more than ever, is unity and collaboration in our efforts to bring about true gender equality.

In the words of Maya Angelou, “I’m a feminist, I’ve been female for a while now. It’s be stupid not to be on my own side”

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