Tuesday, 29 July 2014

UN in your language

New powerful campaign from UN Women

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You know how it works - you type in a word or two in the Google search bar, and underneath you find a neat list of suggestions. This search mechanism has been used for comedy - even poetry! - and is now being used in a brand new, powerful campaign by UN Women.

The campaign displays a series of ads showing genuine Google search suggestions for search words like "women cannot..." or "women shouldn't...". The suggestions, varying from "cannot drive" to "shouldn't work" highlight the sexism and discrimination towards the female gender. The campaign is now using these suggestions, placing them over the mouths of women on large posters, as if to silence their voices. The result is a powerful campaign which has already spurred a debate in several countries.

When trying out the Google search in the UK for example, you get results such as 'women shouldn't work' or 'women should stay at home'. Even though Europe is often seen at the top of the list regarding gender equality, there is still a lot of underlining discrimination.

The UN Women campaign has stimulated many interesting comments on news sites and on Social Media platforms. You can follow the debate with the hashtag #womenshould. The copy writer, Kareem Shuhaibar, hopes that the add will reach a lot of different people: "The ads are shocking because they show just how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality. They are a wake up call, and we hope that the message will travel far."

For UN Women, the Google searches confirm the urgent need to continue making the case for women's rights, empowerment and equality, a cause the organization is pursuing around the world. UN Women is heartened by the initial strong reaction to the ads and hopes they will spark constructive dialogues globally.

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