The IAA is rallying the advertising, media and entertainment industry to elevate their “Voice of Change!”


Lipika Kumaran, Tista Sen, Anuradha Sengupta, Dr Falguni Vasavada, Deepika Warrier and Nitesh Priyadarshi | Case

In a pioneering initiative, the India Chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) organized a Change Summit titled Voice of Change: gender representation from 30 seconds to 3 hours, where the important conversation about gender parity, as seen in the media, unfolded in a day of discussion, debate and research findings. The IAA began the journey last year with a research study in partnership with UNICEF, conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on gender representation in advertising. Drawing on the facts presented in the study, the industry body set out to initiate tangible change through the dialogue needed to drive gender awareness among those leading content creation and marketing. in India.

Nina Elavia Jaipuria | Case

Kick off the event, Nina Elavia Jaipuria, Chairperson, IAA Women Empowerment Committee and Head – Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18, said “Voice of Change underscores the need for more sensitized and inclusive storytelling in content and all the creative minds here – content creators, brand stewards and students are the drivers of creation and marketing of this content now and in the years to come. The IAA has intensified and brought all of this learning and more into the public eye and today, through this summit, assumes the essential role of not only educating and inform, but also enable effective change.

Honorable guest leader Smt.  Poonam Mahajan

Honorable guest leader Smt. Poonam Mahajan | Case

The learning day began with a compelling address from the Honorable Chief Guest Smt. Poonam Mahajan, MP for North Central Mumbai. She told a full house her story, evoking her journey where at each step she has, in a very organic way, broken stereotypes and is where she is today. From pilot to Member of Parliament, she has met challenges head-on and proven herself. His uplifting words were followed by a keynote address by eminent academician Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director of the Center for Social Research and a special address by Mr. Arjan De Wagt, Manager – Deputy Program Representative – UNICEF India , where he said, “For UNICEF, gender equity is an essential and fundamental agenda for all the work that UNICEF does around the world. Raising the value of girls is vital for societies to thrive and this must happen throughout their life cycle. When a woman is pregnant, when a baby girl is born, when she grows up…does she receive adequate nutrition, does she have an equal opportunity to go to school, does she have access to basic health care and whether she is qualified and self-sufficient. As a society, we need to collectively ask these questions and take action to change the norms that create gender inequalities.

LR: Pradeep Dwivedi, IAA Global Board Member and Group CEO, Eros Media World, Smt.  Poonam Mahajan, Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Mr. Arjan De Wagt & Nina E Jaipuria

LR: Pradeep Dwivedi, IAA Global Board Member and Group CEO, Eros Media World, Smt. Poonam Mahajan, Dr Ranjana Kumari, Mr Arjan De Wagt and Nina E Jaipuria | Case

The first segment of the day culminated in congratulating Gender Warriors – Shambhu V Sista, a publicity legend popularly known as Bobby Sista; Guneet Monga, a luminary in the world of cinema; and Ramesh Narayan, another decorated advertising industry veteran. The three Gender Warriors have championed the cause of equality and fair representation in their fields through groundbreaking work and a commitment to making the world a more equal place.

Bobby Sista being congratulated

Bobby Sista is congratulated | Case

Guneet Monga is congratulated

Guneet Monga is congratulated | Case

Ramesh Narayan is congratulated

Ramesh Narayan is congratulated | Case

The day was moderated by a session by Manisha Kapoor, CEO and Secretary General of the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI), who discussed the GenderNext report entitled Follow Her Lead – GenderNext: A Study on Portrayal of Women in Advertising with Knowledge partners ASCI. The report and resulting frameworks provide an important tool for the industry to improve the representation of women in advertising. Following this, Mr. Santosh Desai, MD – Futurebrands Consulting, gave an interesting talk on the cultural perspective of gender representation. Next in this segment was Prasun Basu, Head of Growth and Digital Transformation – Kantar, who moderated a session on the business case for progressive gender representation in advertising.

Santosh Desai

Santosh Desai | Case

Prasun Basu

Prasun Basu | Case

The segment ended with a fiery discussion moderated by renowned journalist Anuradha Sengupta who addressed the panelists – Nitesh Priyadarshi, Vice President Consumer & Market Insights South Asia, Unilever; Deepika Warrier, CMO, Diageo; Tista Sen, Regional Creative Director, Wunderman Thompson SA; Lipika Kumaran, author GenderNext | Sr. VP – Futurebrands Consulting and Dr. Falguni Vasavada, Professor, MICA. From discussing the need to normalize fair representations of gender in advertising to emphasizing the need for creators to move beyond stilted tropes, the panel came up with several insightful insights.

From left to right: Lipika Kumaran, Tista Sen, Anuradha Sengupta, Dr Falguni Vasavada, Deepika Warrier and Nitesh Priyadarshi

LR: Lipika Kumaran, Tista Sen, Anuradha Sengupta, Dr Falguni Vasavada, Deepika Warrier and Nitesh Priyadarshi | Case

The summit’s post-lunch segment addressed gender-aware creativity in film and OTT, beginning with a meaningful session from Dr. Nandita Gandhi, Director of the Akshara Center, who showcased her efforts under the Gaana Initiative. Rewrite, with a fantastic performance by Shefali. Saxena who sang the gendered versions of popular songs. The next session was moderated by Distinguished Academician Dr. Lakshmi Lingam Dean & Professor, School of Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), on the topic Screening Women: Mapping Gender and Work in Hindi Cinema which brought in valuable insights like what kind of roles women have been seen in, the portrayal of LGBTQIA+ characters, and the fact that female crew members on set often don’t even have access to restrooms.

(LR: Dr. Vibha Bakshi, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Monika Shergill, Nandita Das and Anupama Chopra

(LR: Dr Vibha Bakshi, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, Monika Shergill, Nandita Das and Anupama Chopra | File

The highlight of the afternoon was a fireside chat with Vidya Balan, actress par excellence and Unicef ​​celebrity advocate, during which she said: “We know that advertising and all the forms of media have immense potential to promote the empowerment of women and girls, but they also have the potential to harbor harmful stereotypes through unrealistic portrayals of girls and women.Sometimes creative formats also risk reinforcing traditional gender roles and promote gender discrimination within and outside the home.As a celebrated UNICEF advocate, I strive to continue advocating for the gender equality that fuels girls’ aspirations and women and help change people’s perceptions.

Vidya Balan with Atika Ahmed Farooqui

Vidya Balan with Atika Ahmed Farooqui | Case

Followed by an enriching one-on-one, popular celebrity talk show host and producer Atika Farooqui spoke with Zainab Patel, Director of Inclusion and Diversity, Pernod Ricard, who is herself an agent of change who has defended the rights of trans people throughout her life. . The captivating conversations ranged from the inaccessibility of everyday opportunities to the unique stressors of a trans life. The session ended with a resounding standing ovation as Ms Patel struck a chord with everyone present.

As the day of learning, stimulating insights and notable conversations drew to a close, the takeaways were an understanding of where the industry is, where the bottlenecks are and what needs to be done to achieve a truly fair and equal representation of gender in media, whether in a 30 second TVC or a 3 hour film or anything in between. It is essential that we all come together collectively to break down prejudice.

About the IAA

The International Advertising Association is the only global integrated advertising trade association whose members represent advertising agencies and the media. The IAA includes corporate members, organizational members, educational affiliates, as well as 56 chapters with individual members and young professionals from 76 countries, including the world’s top 10 economies. the AA is over 80 years old and headquartered in New York.

Membership of the IAA India Chapter is by invitation only and the IAA has some of the highest caliber marketing, advertising and media professionals in its membership. IAA in India is considered the most active chapter by IAA Global. IAA India is well recognized for some of its signature events such as IAA Leadership Awards, IAA Olive Crown Awards, IndIAA Awards, IAA Debates, IAA Conversations, IAA Young Turks Forum and an array of IAA Knowledge Seminars, webinars, workshops, conclaves, etc. .

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