Equality POVs

Can physical places inspire social change?

With day one fin, we're in full Lions-mode here on the Côte d'Azur. First stop? Le Palais II to check out the health tech innovations and short lists. Our first panel was with famed architect Bjarke Ingels. His discussion focused on using architect for social good. For example, how can physical places inspire social change? He showed examples of projects that his firm led that did just that. A Danish city made up largely of immigrants from 60+ countries that used crowd sourced design to re-design the city using inspirations from the immigrant cultures, ultimately making the communities feel more welcomed using crowd sourced design.

Bjarke's panel inspired me to consider how we can use physical locations in media to create inclusiveness for brands with a mission in gender equality and diversity. Consider the debate of the Alamo Drafthouse's women's-only screening of Wonder Woman – a physical space created as a response to the quite literal structural problems of patriarchy women face and the desire to preview a film that represents women in a way that most superhero films, frankly, don't. For entertainment brands or brands with on-site activations where diversity is a focus, the actual design of spaces can be leveraged as a means for inclusiveness.

After leaving Bjarke's talk, we checked out the ads shortlisted for the health category. A common thread of the winners had underlying themes on challenging stigmas and prejudice in healthcare topics and issues. Abbott's "Breast Feeding Mannequins" swapped out regular mannequins at over 100 retailers for ones that were breast feeding, using objects we see every day to destigmatize breast feeding. Human Rights Group Terre Des Femmes won bronze for their "Open Your Eyes" campaign in Germany- depicting victims of female genital mutilation in Germany with their eyes, squinted closed in pain, rotated vertically. The images were shocking and made most who passed by stop and look twice –a clear intention of the ad campaign, the goal for which was to raise awareness of female mutilation in Germany. Another campaign used media to create a bill to tax communities on alcohol based on the amount of domestic violence complaints and femincides in the Dominican Republican.

At least for the healthcare category thus far, creating an open dialogue for topics and issues that affect millions of women and their health won big.

We’ll be hitting the ground running tomorrow with multiple panels, including Mindshare’s session “Talent Without Prejudice”. Å bientôt!

Written by Rachel Lowenstein