#PainStories, International Women’s Day and climate resilience

Authors: Zoe Dawson, Liam Clifford, Jece Shunmugam
  • Reading time: 5 min.
  • Posted on: March 9, 2021

Read on for a handpicked selection of the good, the bad, and the one to watch in the world of social impact communications. This week, we’re highlighting the gender pain gap, International Women’s Day fails, and new funding opportunities for climate resilience.

| NAILED IT: #PainStories closes the gender pain gap, one story at a time

Women’s experience of pain is complex, wide-ranging and seriously under-acknowledged. From endometriosis, to adenomyosis, to painful sex, to vaginismus and beyond there is a whole world of pain that we just don’t talk enough about. 

#PainStories — the Bodyform campaign launched by ad agency AMV BBDO last week — is all about giving women the language to discuss their experiences and dismantle the stigmas that stop women from getting the help they need. 

The incredibly creative campaign includes a ‘Pain Dictionary’ built from the testimonials of women living with endometriosis, which have been turned into unique illustrations. This impactful tool isn’t just there to look striking on instagram — which it does — but is to be distributed to NGOs, influencers and GPs in the hope of increasing diagnosis rates for endometriosis. Bodyform’s research finds that one in ten women suffer from endometriosis, but it takes an average of seven years to diagnose due to the widespread belief that severe period pain is normal.

With the stories and illustrations commissioned via Instagram, and shared via an ‘insta-book’, #PainStories is a great example of a campaign that is created by and for a supportive online community of women and girls. 

| ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT:  International Women’s Day gaffes and hypocrisy

Another year, another raft of eager brands fumbling their messaging around International Women’s Day.

In a particularly high-profile gaffe, Burger King has found itself in hot water after opening a Twitter thread with a stark message: “Women belong in the kitchen.” They were hoping for a bait and switch, going on to highlight the lack of female chefs in commercial kitchens — the only problem being that the first tweet in the thread is by far the most visible, and has now gone viral.

Even if it had worked out the way they wanted, there’s still the problem that, just maybe, riffing on hurtful stereotypes could come off to many readers as unfunny or plain lazy — or worse, actively harmful. Either way, they’ve been left looking tasteless. They’ve since apologised and deleted the tweet.

As well as spotting major mistakes, activists have been calling out brands for hypocrisy — claiming to celebrate women while the gender pay gap is still alive and well. One Twitter account, @PayGapApp, has been automatically tweeting out the pay disparity for brands that use the hashtags #IWD2021 or #InternationalWomensDay, based on government data — including big names like Intel, Goldman Sachs and Ryanair.

International Women’s Day is an important time to celebrate the progress we’ve made and to reflect on the progress still to come. Holding brands to account is a key part of that.

| ONE TO WATCH:  A new funding opportunity for climate displaced refugees

The JAC Trust is now accepting applications from organisations that work with refugees, internally-displaced peoples or returnees and their host communities to respond to the climate crisis. Grants of up to £30k will be provided for organisations that help those most at risk of climate-related displacement, and deliver outcomes that benefit both people and the planet. 

Massive population displacements are now one of the most common and devastating consequences of climate change. It is also disproportionately affecting the Global South, where countries like Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the Philippines already have acute humanitarian needs following extreme weather events like typhoons, droughts and flooding. 

Adaptation and mitigation measures can be implemented that allow communities to build resilience to environmental change that threatens their livelihood, such as clean energy sources in Yemen, creating artificial glaciers in the Himalayas for the most at-risk communities,  and upskilling women in Guatemala in traditional and modern farming practices that increase food security. 

More information on the application can be found here. The deadline is 21st March 2021.