Press Release --- Nairobi --- 24 February 2021
The Unstereotype Alliance today launches its Kenya national chapter, with a coalition of eight private sector organisations that have united to address stereotypes in advertising.
Convened by UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, the Unstereotype Alliance is a thought and action platform that seeks to eradicate harmful stereotypes from advertising and media. Kenya is the seventh national chapter to launch worldwide, and the second in Africa. The Alliance will focus its work in Kenya on broadening the representation of women and men in non-traditional roles in advertising, and across society as a whole.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, commented:
"I am so pleased that Kenya will become our first national chapter to launch in 2021, further growing the global footprint of the Unstereotype Alliance. I applaud our Kenya partners’ goal of broadening the representation of empowered women in public and private life, including business leadership, and invite all advertisers to challenge themselves to ensure that all their media and advertising portrayals are green, equitable, gender-responsive and inclusive."
The founding members of the Kenya Chapter are:
· State Bank of Mauritius
· East African Breweries Limited (Diageo)
Several allies have also committed to supporting the chapter:
· African Women's Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP)
· Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM)
· Marketing Society of Kenya (MSK)
Stereotypes in advertising perpetuate negative social norms and hinder progress of gender equality. In Kenya, harmful social norms contribute to increased acceptance of gender-based violence, lack of economic decision-making for women and constricted opportunities in the job market. The chapter has defined strategic priorities to address gender stereotypes with a focus on harmful patriarchal traditions and norms to broaden the representation of empowered and autonomous women in private and public life, including in business leadership; and to ensure progressive representation and portrayals of all local ethnicities in media and advertising.
Unstereotype Alliance research into gender equality attitudes shows that there is a clear role not only to remove stereotypes in advertising and media, but to challenge widely-held beliefs and norms in society. Data from the Gender Equality Attitudes study, conducted across 10 countries including Kenya, shows that whilst many Kenyans recognise the importance of women’s rights, outdated beliefs persist. Specifically:
81% of Kenyans believe it is ‘completely important’ to show more respect for women’s rights in all areas;
69% of Kenyans feel women call attention to themselves based on how they dress;
39% of Kenyans feel that the media portrays women in certain roles;
25% of Kenyans feel men should be paid more than women for the same job.
Anna Mutavati, UN Women Country Representative to Kenya:
"Part of UN Women’s mandate is to eradicate harmful social norms that hinder progress on gender equality. The struggle for gender equality in Kenya is impinged by deep-rooted patriarchal norms and values which are reinforced in advertising and media. This national chapter in Kenya signifies a dynamic commitment from the private sector to push for eradication of gender stereotypes in advertising, in order to create a fairer and more equal society."
Sylvia Mulinge, Chief Customer Officer, Safaricom:
"Safaricom is a sustainable, diverse and inclusive brand that represents the heart of Kenya. We support the Unstereotype Alliance as we strive to eradicate harmful stereotypes that hinder progress in all advertising in Kenya to ensure that no one is left behind."
Edward Oswe, CEO Marketing Society of Kenya:
“Marketing Society of Kenya is committed to breaking stereotypes with the goal of working towards a world where expectations are not set by inequality or stereotypes, but by our capabilities.”
Anne Michira, Head of Marketing, East African Breweries Limited (Diageo):
"Stereotypical thinking creates unseen boundaries that stifle our ability to believe in endless possibilities; and more so in Africa and Kenya where some of our traditional value systems limit our ability to fully participate in all spectrums of life. This community has the exciting opportunity to re-shape thinking, break boundaries and free thought which is the best gift we can give the next generation of leaders and tomorrow’s society."
Notes to Editors
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The Unstereotype Alliance
The Unstereotype Alliance seeks to eradicate harmful stereotypes from advertising and media to help create a more equal world. Convened by UN Women, the United Nations entity for Gender Equality, the Alliance collectively acts to empower people in all their diversity (gender, race, class, age, ability, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, language, education, etc.) by using advertising as a force for good to drive positive change all over the world.
Since its launch in 2017, the Unstereotype Alliance has built momentum behind notable achievements such as 'unstereotyped' judging criteria as part of industry award programmes including Cannes Lions. The Unstereotype Alliance has commissioned original research and developed best practice playbooks and measurement tools to help marketers and agency teams create more progressive unstereotyped communications.