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#FairnessFirst: #CannesLions2019 roars for gender equality

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is officially underway, with awards being announced nightly from 17 to 21 June 2019. But keep your eyes peeled until the end, as The Glass Lion for Change, announced in the final ceremony of the week, is one of the most hotly contested awards - here's why we're hoping to see Caster Semenya and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka shine.
Who will take home this year's Cannes Lions Glass: The Lion for Change awards?
Who will take home this year's Cannes Lions Glass: The Lion for Change awards?

Winning a Cannes Lion is proof of your agency and brand’s global wow-factor work – all the more so if it’s the coveted Glass: Lion for Change that you’re bringing home to glow with pride from your award mantle.

For one thing, in 2016 a total of €72,819 was donated to gender equality charities worldwide, like UN Women, Equality Now and the Geena Davis Institute, all raised through that year's Glass: The Lion for Change submissions.

The Glass: Lion for Change falls under the Good track and celebrates ideas intended to change the world, demonstrated through work which sets out to positively impact ingrained gender inequality, imbalance or injustice.

With the world’s focus on conscious consumerism, purpose-driven work and brand humanity, it’s no wonder that AdWeek defines the Glass: Lion for Change as:

One of the more unique and highly sought after awards in Cannes. Since its inception in 2015, the honour has shone a light on efforts to break advertising’s tired stereotypes from within.
With UK’s The Drum reporting that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is implementing stricter rules regarding gender stereotyping in ads, as ads that reinforce harmful stereotypes can restrict the "choices, aspirations and opportunities," of children, young people and adults, there’s no better time to celebrate all that the Glass Lion for Change stands for.

Glass: The Lion for Change

It’s about more than just breaking the glass ceiling, though.

Jaime Robinson, chief creative officer of Joan Creative and this year’s Glass Lion jury president, said:

This year’s best work was a combination of powerful stories and really genius media-tweaking ideas, all hell-bent on challenging norms. I think we’re all dying to get into the jury room, learn more about the shortlisted work, and of course, discuss!
The shortlist for Glass: The Lion for Change includes 23 entries from the following 12 countries: Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Poland, Sweden, The Netherlands, UK and USA.

Nike, Adidas and Gillette are all in the running, but Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam’s ‘Just Do It: Caster Semenya’ for Nike South Africa, with production work by Glassworks Amsterdam as well as Park Pictures London, Trim London and Wave Studios London is already proving a firm favourite, topping many of the SA Cannes Lions judges’ predictions.

View the full 2019 Glass: The Lion for Change Shortlist here!

SA’s LionHeart link

In this same vein, SA’s own Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations under-secretary-general and executive director of UN Women, will also be awarded the 2019 Cannes LionHeart at the final Awards Show closing out Cannes Lions 2019.

This is in recognition of her advocacy for women, human rights and social justice throughout the world, and for her leadership of the industry-wide diversity initiative, The Unstereotype Alliance.

Little wonder as last year, Apolitical also named her one of the most influential people in gender policy globally.

A worthy winner if ever we've seen one. So buckle in, pop some corn and get ready for a rollercoaster ride of the world’s most groundbreaking advertising, with a glass-ceiling-shattering end to the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity!

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity runs from 17 to 21 June 2019, with Cinemark – now known as Ster-Kinekor Sales – the local representatives of Cannes Lions for SA. Roving reporter Ann Nurock will be sharing the latest news as it happens, live on the ground in Cannes, so visit our Cannes Lions special section for the latest updates!

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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