LAGOS – 9 December 2021 - UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women is launching the Nigeria chapter of the Unstereotype Alliance - a global coalition committed to ending harmful stereotypes in media and advertising.
The Unstereotype Alliance is a thought and action platform that unites the influence of the advertising, media, and marketing community as a force for transformative change. Guinness Nigeria leads the charge championing the process towards the launch of the chapter, whose core membership features leading industry players First Bank of Nigeria, SO&U LTD, Unilever Nigeria and X3M Ideas. Bringing a wealth of influence and reach, the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) and Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR) also join the Nigeria chapter as allies. The priority focus of the Nigeria Chapter is to use advertising as a force for progress by depicting positive portrayals of women and girls, and ensure the industry rejects all harmful stereotypes, including gender stereotypes.
Destructive stereotypes proliferate advertising and media content in Nigeria and hinder progress towards gender equality. Nearly 1 in 3 Nigerian women reports having experienced physical violence at least once in their lifetime and representation of women in governance is amongst the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa. Findings from UN Women’s Gender Equality Attitudes study* in Nigeria revealed that 54% of respondents believe media in Nigeria (television, advertisements, or public communication) only portrays women and men in certain roles and almost 40% of people believe that for the same job men should be paid more than women.
The Nigeria Chapter recognises tackling stereotypes as a social imperative with a strong business case. In 2020, an estimated 430 million USD was spent by Nigeria’s advertising industry. The core membership seeks to further tap into Nigeria’s wide and diverse market to ensure positive and transformative representation. Leveraging the reach of the United Nations' 193 Member States, the Unstereotype Alliance provides a global connectedness for members with a shared commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5 for gender equality. Nigeria is the 11th National Chapter and the 3rd in Africa, in addition to Australia, Brazil, Japan, India, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, UAE, and UK.
Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS said:
Nigeria has an important role to play in shifting negative stereotypes across the board - from women’s equal and meaningful participation in leadership to the role of boys and men in ending gender inequality. The Nigeria Chapter brings to the global coalition, a range of leading brands who recognise the importance of shifting attitudes around gender, disability, and ethnicity to not only drive the industry market but to achieve sustainable development. This Chapter is not only significant for Nigeria but for the whole continent given Nigeria’s position and influence in Africa.
Steve Babaeko, President, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN) said:
As the President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria, success for me is when every creative takes a pause to ponder if the scenario painted in a story board furthers the cause of not stereotyping women or adds fuel to an already raging fire.
Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO, First Bank of Nigeria said:
At FirstBank, we remain committed to diversity & inclusion. Our diverse, nation-building conscious, impact-driven teams underpin our agility, resilience and demonstrable humanity. We believe that the Nigeria Chapter of Unstereotype Alliance can truly reinforce the country’s strength in diversity.
Adenike Adebola, Marketing & Innovations Director, Guinness Nigeria said:
In many instances, Inequality and Stereotypes are influenced by our traditional beliefs in Nigeria. Success for the Nigeria National Chapter of the Unstereotype Alliance should begin from decanting those regressive beliefs that hold women back, with progressive female representations, conversations, communications and actions to bring an end to all existing issues fueling the gender gap; like Girl Child Labour, female genital mutilation, child bride system, domestic violence and many more.
Biodun Adefila, Chief Operating Officer, SO&U LTD said:
There’s no better time than now to fully accept and embrace women into the crucial task of nation building. It starts with unstereo-typing our roles and inputs in all sectors. It starts with the stories we tell in our communications. When the first response from a 5year old girl when asked what she wants to become in future is not ‘a mummy’. When there are so many options for her to pick from and she can still be ‘a mummy’ along with those options, we would have succeeded in our task.
Carl Cruz, Managing Director, Unilever West Africa said:
The advertising we consume paints a picture of society and shapes how we view ourselves and what many aspire to. When brands paint an inclusive picture of society, they play a role in redefining what is considered mainstream, sparking national conversations, and speeding the social acceptance of marginalised groups. Every day, 2.5 billion people around the world are exposed to Unilever brands. As one of the world’s largest advertisers, Unilever can use its influence to challenge negative stereotypes and set new standards of empowerment and equality. It is our pleasure to work with other like-minded partners within the Unstereotype Alliance to champion this movement.
Soromidayo George, Corporate Affairs & Sustainable Business Director, Unilever West Africa said:
Inequalities are deep-rooted and pervasive in our societies, and they are often compounded by adverse social norms and stereotypes which blight millions of people’s lives each day. For example, we still have more than 250 years to go before women achieve parity with men in economic participation and opportunity. This is why we are proud to be joining the Unstereotype Alliance in Nigeria to create the space for a diversity of representations in advertising and in challenging harmful stereotypes. Unilever is determined to pioneer a new way of doing business – one that is based on bold action and delivers transformational change. To help us get there, we’ve integrated our business strategy with our sustainability strategy – to create Unilever’s Purpose-led, Future-fit Compass. Partnering with the Unstereotype Alliance fits perfectly with the direction of our purpose.
Amina Oyagbola, Founder/Chairperson, Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR) said:
We are at a critical inflection point for women and the nation. The role of the advertising industry as critical stakeholders in fostering a positive narrative of diversity and inclusion cannot be overemphasized to achieve our goals for gender equality and women empowerment. The mission of the Unstereotype Alliance to work actively to shape the positive perception of women; women in leadership and women aspiring for political office could not be more timely.
Steve Babaeko, CEO/Chief Creative Officer, X3M Ideas said:
Nigeria is the arrowhead of the exciting African creative industry, we carry a lot of power in the areas of music, film, advertising and popular culture as a whole. With that power comes the responsibility to lead from the front and open the conversation around closing gender gaps and also change the narrative of how women are portrayed in advertising.
About 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.
For more information on the Unstereotype Alliance, visit www.unstereotypealliance.org.
*Gender Equality Attitudes Study 'Are You Ready for Change', UN Women, 2019