Gender equality & female empowerment in the workplace

Home/marketing/Gender equality & female empowerment in the workplace

Gender equality & female empowerment in the workplace

There are as many definitions for gender equality as opinions in this world. Putting it simply, gender equality is “the state in which the access to rights, opportunities and resources is not dependent upon one’s gender”. It is rather purely a world where a person’s success, however, that the individual might define depends solely on natural ability and not gender.

The notion of gender equality was birthed as early as the 1700s by Mary Wollstonecraft, the English writer and philosopher who, through her written work, challenged how women were perceived as inferior to men in society.

Amelia Bloomer, the relentless crusader for women’s rights, shook society by introducing the “bloomers” when women were required and expected to wear corsets. Lucy Stone decided to go against the grain and hold on to her maiden name as a symbol of her individuality when that was unheard of. Last but not least, we must mention Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks. Sojourner fought tirelessly against racial discrimination and gender inequality after spending the best part of 30 years as a slave, and Rosa Parks, who through a simple act of not giving up her seat and not moving to the back of the bus, ignited a 381-day long boycott that brought down racial segregation on public buses.

These are just some of the hundreds if not thousands of inspirational women that graced us with their knowledge and spirit throughout history. Even in small ways, they shook society into new thinking patterns and prompted people to change their perspectives and stand up for what they believe in.

This is what women and girls’ empowerment are all about. The continuous actions of exceptional individuals that work and push boundaries towards the common goal of creating a safe environment for all women to be able to embrace their natural abilities and to make the choices that they want when they want to make them so they can live their lives fully on their own terms and with a sense of self-worth, respect and dignity.



The purpose of gender equality is to bridge the gap between these societal disparities that define women and men in different ways, level the playing field so that women have access to the same type and amount of resources and opportunities and address the issues of the position of women in certain societies and cultures that are still fuelled and run by traditions and practices that are no longer relevant and/or beneficial to progress.

There are still places where women are not allowed under the same roof as men when they are menstruating and therefore have to seek shelter under the elements for the duration of their cycle. In the same breath, some areas of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East still actively practice barbaric female circumcision to control women’s sexuality and reduce them to just a vessel of barring children.

So whether we are talking about cultural practices, education exposure or work environments, the message is the same and should be loud and clear! The importance of gender equality is that it gives women the power to make their own choices and choose their own paths by having access to everything their male counterparts have. This will shape our world and our children in tomorrow’s society.


There will be some cynics out there that believe this is a load of feminist gobbledygook that comes from man-hating, bra-burning individuals who love to cause a fuss and shout about anything, but that is ok because we respect your opinion no matter how flawed it is.

We live in a world where little girls go to school and grow up to get jobs and build careers that shape the world’s future. The same world sometimes makes it hard for some girls and women to express their creativity and reach their full potential because of culture, religious beliefs, or lack of available resources due to background. So if you come from a country where you do not have that many restrictions spare a thought for those who do and imagine what your little boy or girl would grow up to be like if told that they cannot go to school to become what they dream of because of their gender.

The main benefit of promoting and supporting gender equality is quite simply more rapid development and a more open and honest global community that nurtures rather than restricts. Having both genders on equal levels means that more ideas are shared, more valuable input is brought to the table, and more prosperity is generated as a result.

It is the responsibility of each one of us to make sure we take steps towards moving forward until we reach an equilibrium and the notion of gender inequality is no longer an issue. Some of the steps towards this are: making education more inclusive rather than gender-sensitive and raising the aspirations of our girls and women by giving them role models that expand their dreams and develop their self-confidence. Furthermore, by empowering mothers and teachers to nurture and empower their daughters to make their own choices in life and own them, we create a better world for everyone.

In a work setting, we can all start by getting more women into power, acknowledging their natural abilities, looking at your gender pay gap, closing it, and becoming more connected and less judgemental with women and men alike.

This is indeed a cultural shift in mentality and perspective that bring forward the importance of women’s roles in society, which looks at the complexity of those perceptions within our world. It is pushing politics, economics, culture and brands to face the uncomfortable issues of education, freedom from stereotyping and job equality. It requires an open conversation where everyone has a voice worth hearing.

So since this is snowballing on a global scale, it begs the question of how brands and advertising agencies contribute to the movement and why they are so important to get involved? We live in a consumer-centric society where everyone has the power through social media and other communications technologies to be a part of the conversation and influence what brands do and how they act like before.

Since gender equality is such a hot topic, we also see a shift in how marketers and ad people are advertising to the female population. Long gone are the days when it was perfectly acceptable to objectify women to sell products with aspirational value and to use stereotypes on screen.

Our expectations from brands are now much higher, and we see it natural for them to take responsibility for using strong inspirational women to deliver a message of substance that is relevant and relatable instead of using them as vanity currency based on the number of followers they have or the size of their clothes.

Empowerment is most definitely the new black! It is the approach of winners, and it just looks sexy on anyone that chooses it above more outdated approaches. Some brands have pioneered this and saw the benefits of getting involved early on.

Some of the campaigns that are still making an impact are:

With the #RealBeauty and #ChooseBeautiful campaigns, Dove challenges the idea that you have to fit into a mould to be beautiful and is working hard to change women’s negative perceptions of themselves and embrace their individual beauty just the way it is.

Always, the #Likeagirl campaign aims to keep girls empowered and confident through puberty and embrace their natural strengths.

And the Ontario Federation of Labour with the #Makseitfair campaign delivers a powerful message about asking questions about the wages we earn, the opportunities we should have and the reality of gender inequality through a hilarious, clever and witty use of sarcastic humour.

Although we have a long way to go before we can safely say that gender inequality is no longer an issue, brands should continue to play an important role in this cultural shift. So brands, remember, #femvertising is great and can really work wonders, but you must avoid some of the pitfalls that can cause you more grief than pleasure. So, if you are looking to engage with an issue, it has to be in line with your brand’s values, and mission and ONLY engage if you can own it and deliver it in a relevant and relatable way. Also, avoid clichés and stereotyping at all costs and make sure your content has weight and is important to your female audience.

In conclusion, the world is a better place when we are all on the same page and working together towards a common goal. If we are still under the impression that this only happens in developing countries, THINK AGAIN! Gender inequality is closer than you think hence why we all need to become more aware and more involved and be more like the Rosas and the Marys of modern society. We must keep pushing until the gender gap is closed for good!


By | 2021-12-18T14:31:55+00:00 September 4th, 2017|marketing|0 Comments

About the Author:'
She is a versatile creative writer who draws her talent from years of experience in the industry as a copywriter and a genuine curiosity for all things advertising. When she is not creating thought provoking work she is blogging about food and health and wellness.