eight&four Ways You Can #PressForProgress This Women’s Day

It’s International Women’s Day, and you know what that means – an outpouring of digital support and celebration of the so-called ‘fairer sex’. Companies which spend their ad-dollars on shaming women into spending will send out carefully-worded Facebook posts, men who wouldn’t think twice about pinching bums in a bar will post photos of their mothers on Instagram and Red Pill-ers the world over will try to get #InternationalMensDay trending on Twitter.

So far, so predictable.

But in 2018, what does International Women’s Day actually stand for? This year’s theme is #PressForProgress – a call to unite in pushing for gender parity. At eight&four, we put our heads together to consider how you can challenge your thinking this Women’s Day, and press for progress throughout the year to come.

Engage in Open, Non-Judgemental Dialogue

In an increasingly tense and sensitive political climate, it’s easy to become close-minded – and the Internet’s ability to connect us with like-minded individuals makes it easy to close our ears (or our laptops) to people who we disagree with. But open, non-judgemental discussion is the only path towards real societal change. It’s essential that you challenge your own thinking, as well as other people’s, to make it stronger – and if the only people discussing gender equality are people who already agree with you, how can change occur?

Don’t Polarise “Left” and “Right”

Gender equality is a human issue, not just a political one. If there’s a perception that, in order to believe in gender equality, you must additionally subscribe to a full set of political values, progress is inhibited and exclusivity becomes enshrined in the movement. Gender equality should be a cross-party status quo, not just a Leftist one.

Kate and Amy, co-founders and joint MD

Think Beyond a Western Context

Gender parity hasn’t yet been achieved in the West. Sexual violence is still common, the pay gap will reportedly take 217 years to close and the number of female directors is falling, rather than increasing. But, while the law frequently falls short of enforcing its doctrines to the necessary extent, laws against sexual violence, unequal pay and gender discrimination at least exist. Gender equality is most needed where it seems least achievable – where inequality, rather than protections against it, are enshrined in law.

Be Leery of Anyone That Tries to Sell You “Empowerment”

As people become increasingly, unashamedly vocal about discussing gender issues, the movement has taken on every quality of a trend – meaning inevitably, brands will attempt to hijack the discussion. While many organisations have genuine political motivations – the desire to create positive impact, to champion equality and to promote their founder’s deeply-held beliefs – just as many don’t. And there’s a growing trend for the terms “empowerment” and “self-care” being used to put a pseudo-feminist spin on the old trick of persuading women to part with their cash for things they don’t need. Make no mistake, brands have a crucial role to play in challenging perceptions, changing stereotypes and realigning society…but with everything from lip fillers to Pantene shampoo being shifted under the “female empowerment” label, consider whether you’re being manipulated first, spend second.

Quotes from the Team

“My mum would always say to me, ‘Worry less about wearing glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings’. Every day is a fight for equality, from watching a TV ad, to getting equal pay in the workplace, no matter what gender, race or sexual orientation.’ – Annie, Social Media Manager

“YOU CAN do anything you want to do, regardless of gender, relationship status and class, don’t let ANYONE put you down. If you really want something you will achieve it.” – Tania, Community Manager

“You do rugby, you do football. You do you.” – Lizzie, Creative Designer

“I believe in equal rights for men and women, why wouldn’t anyone else? I’m lucky to work with ambitious, inspiring women every day.” – Alistair, Media Strategist

“If we’re going to gain any progress worth having, we’ve got to all engage with each other from the left to the right of the political spectrum. Open, non-judgemental dialogue.” – Kate, Managing Director

eight&four is a proudly female-founded and female-operated integrated communications agency which recognises talent, not secondary-sex characteristics. If you’re interested in how our team of specialists can help, please get in touch.

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