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UN Women and Unilever Unveil ‘Unstereotype Alliance’

The initiative aims to eradicate stereotypical portrayals of gender in advertising and other brand-led content.

PARIS — UN Women and Unilever on Tuesday launched the Unstereotype Alliance, which aims to eradicate stereotypical portrayals of gender in advertising and other brand-led content.

“Recognizing the power of partnerships to accelerate progress, this industry-led initiative will unite leaders across business, technology and creative industries to tackle the widespread prevalence of stereotypes that are often perpetuated through advertising,” Unilever said in a statement.

UN Women, also known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and Unilever have been joined on the initiative by companies including WPP, IPG, Facebook, Google, Mars, Microsoft and Johnson & Johnson. Its kickoff was announced at the Cannes Lions, the international festival of creativity, in Cannes, France.

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The Unstereotype Alliance, with other members such as Alibaba, Mattel and Twitter, was co-convened by UN Women and Unilever for the first time in Cannes. The organization “aims to tackle how the industry can affect positive cultural change by using the power of advertising to help shape perceptions that reflect realistic, non-biased portrayals of women and men,” Unilever said.

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“We’ve seen true progress in our industry, but it doesn’t go far enough,” said Keith Weed, chief marketing and communications officer at Unilever. “Our job isn’t done until we never see an ad that diminishes or limits the role of women and men in society. We want to work with our peers across the industry to develop new ways of working, to share knowledge and approaches, so that we can scale the Unstereotype commitments.

“We believe cross-sector collaboration will lead to sustained transformation,” he continued. “This is no longer just a social imperative but a business one; progressive ads have been found to be 25 percent more effective and deliver better branded impact.”

The alliance’s inaugural session is to take place on Thursday. It was launched one year after Unilever’s Unstereotype initiative.