Media and creative industry joins forces on International Women’s Day

Posted 14 March 2019

No female-focused campaign of recent times has had quite as much impact as Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’.

You would have to have been hiding under a rock for the past two years not to have seen their adverts featuring real and relatable women to getting active. It was this campaign that made Media Trust ask Kate Dale, Strategic Lead at Sport England and the mastermind behind the ‘This Girl Can’ campaign, if she would speak at our third annual ‘Women’s Voices’ event to mark International Women’s Day on Friday 8 March 2019.

What is our ‘Women’s Voices’ event I hear you ask? It’s Media Trust’s biggest volunteering event of the year, bringing together over 130 media and creative industry volunteers to share their expertise with 30 charities that support, campaign and advocate for women and girls.

Connecting charities with the media and creative industry

At the event, Media Trust carefully connects each charity with a team of industry volunteers that have the combined skills to take on that charity’s communications brief. The aim is to help each charity build an effective, impactful and compelling communications campaign.

As the day kicked off at Google’s Academy in London, charities and volunteers were welcomed by Media Trust’s CEO, Su-Mei Thompson who opened the event. As well as thanking our industry volunteers for giving up their time, Su-Mei reminded us all that International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate women and also highlight the disparities and inequalities that still exist, and to press for change.

She also spoke about the work of the charities in attendance: “Many of today’s charities are dealing with big challenges like refugees, homelessness and destitution but we also have non-profits here doing wonderful work encouraging girls to consider STEM careers or simply to explore the natural world.”

Google’s Matt Brittin on pushing for change

Su-Mei then handed over to Media Trust Trustee and Google’s President of EMEA Business & Operations, Matt Brittin. Matt was, despite the event being open to male media and creative volunteers for the first time, one of the only men who joined us. (Shout out also to Dan from Dentsu Aegis Network for being our first ever male volunteer at Women’s Voices!). Matt spoke personally about the women who inspired him and rounded off his speech with a call to action for more men to get involved: ”It’s great to see so much talent in the room but there is not enough men.” He continued to urge men to stand up, join the conversation and push for change.

And then came Kate Dale to set us up for the day’s work ….

All eyes in the room were firmly fixed on Kate as she delivered her keynote speech, revealing unique insights into the ground-breaking behaviour change campaign that has seen nearly 3 million more women become active since it launched in 2017.

We knew we had to change and to make campaigns more relatable as they weren’t cutting through.

Kate Dale, Strategic Lead at Sport England

This girl can

Kate spoke candidly about the challenges Sport England, as a charity itself, faced when launching the campaign: “Before we launched, there was a huge gender gap in participation in sports. We knew we had to change and to make campaigns more relatable as they weren’t cutting through, so we spoke to women and listened to what they said. That’s where “This Girl Can” came from.”

It was hard not to be impressed by what Kate and her team had achieved. Kate’s parting words of advice to our charities and volunteers were “understand your audience.”

With that in mind and feeling suitably inspired, our charities and volunteers then broke off into their 30 different teams to tackle their individual communications briefs. The atmosphere was filled with creativity as groups brainstormed, tackling briefs with no big budgets attached and limited resource.

 

The experience today has been amazing. It has exceeded my expectations.

Lina Headshot Lina Artunduaga, Fundraising Manager

Helping women’s charities break down barriers

Lina Artunduaga, Fundraising Manager at the charity Parents and Children Together (PACT), was working with a team of volunteers from organisations including the BBC, Hearst Magazines UK, Clear Channel UK and leading agency Elvis Communications. Lina’s team were helping her raise awareness of PACT’s women’s community project, Alana House.

Like many charities, one of the biggest challenges PACT faces is a lack of resources and funding. Lina said: ‘As a small, local charity in Reading we face a lot of barriers to our marketing and communications. We work with female offenders with complex needs. It’s difficult to get funding and the cause is not as relatable as some others.”

She continued: “The experience today has been amazing. It has exceeded my expectations. The volunteers helping me were great and they really got the project as well. To have them give me all of their attention, expertise and knowledge is incredible. They’re telling me practical things I can do without spending tonnes of money.” Lina hopes the impact of the event will result in her developing a supporter base of women in Reading.

Feeling positive

It wasn’t just our charity attendees who benefited from the event. Many volunteers’ left feeling positive about how much they could contribute by sharing their skills.

For a lot of our teams, the Women’s Voices 2019 was just the start, as many of the volunteer’s plan to stay in touch with the charities they were paired with and offer support and advice in the future. This is not a prerequisite for taking part, but for the charities who attended, volunteer support provided by media and creative industry can be invaluable.  We are already looking forward to WV 2020 so hope you’ll be joining us.

Get involved with Media Trust

With thanks to Google and The Academy London for hosting Women’s Voices 2019.

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