See It to Believe It
Barbie, an iconic fashion doll brand, has faced significant scrutiny over the course of its 64-year history for promoting unrealistic beauty standards and overlooking cultural and ethnic representation. With the blockbuster release of its new movie, Mattel has redefined the narrative by moving beyond superficial differences, presenting a diverse array of characters that represent various communities, cultures, races and even body figures. At its core, Barbie serves as an inspiration for individuals aspiring to break free from societal constraints.
In March 2023, Barbie commemorated the accomplishments of seven prominent female leaders of STEM by creating one-of-a-kind dolls in their likeness. The introduction of these remarkable women’s stories to young girls triggers a profound realisation within them, instilling the belief that they had limitless potential to be anyone they wanted, even in professions that may initially appear inaccessible. Brands have an essential role to play in recognising and challenging the behaviours that reinforce dated stereotypes, as well as in reshaping societal norms.
Female leaders in STEM
Women make up only a mere 28% of the STEM workforce. While the power of imagination is influential, it only marks the beginning. Being a witness to real-life instances of women who have broken through the glass ceiling is what truly catalyses changes. Their narratives of inspiration, marked by unwavering perseverance and determination, sow the seeds of the belief that no dream is too grand, and no aspiration too ambitious to achieve.
She Looks Like Me
Becoming a role model or a pioneer among women to attain success is commendable. However, history should not be made solely because someone is the first or only woman to achieve success. It is more than imperative for brands to take the lead in making a change.
Meat Business Women (MBW) proudly launched the global campaign ‘#SheLooksLikeMe’, to challenge conventional perceptions of careers in the meat industry while celebrating real women who play pivotal roles in the meat supply chain. The campaign goes beyond settling for surface-level representation, seeking to spearhead a profound transformation within the sector and providing a platform where women can truly shine.
#SheLooksLikeMe showcased professional women in every role within the meat industry
MBW is acutely aware that inclusion has evolved beyond being a mere “nice-to-have” and is now an absolute necessity. Along with their latest campaign, ‘The Power of You,’ MBW continues to foster empowerment and confidence within women at every career stage, and in turn advocating for a positive and progressive future for the industry.
Since their initial campaign, MBW has sparked significant transformation within the industry. A substantial 60% of individuals employed in the meat industry have expressed that women now have increased opportunities for networking and role models are now more visible. Additionally, there has been a 3% boost in the number of women assuming Chief Executive roles within the industry, while the number of women holding board-level positions has surged by 9%.
Source: Meat Business Women
It is truly motivational to recognise that MBW was founded by two extraordinary businesswomen, Laura Ryan and Pamela Brook. Both women have decades of experience and expertise in the meat industry, providing them with a unique vantage point where they understand the industry’ nuances, challenges and potential. Their founding of MBW not only has forged a path for women to thrive and excel in a traditionally male-dominated field, but has also fostered gender diversity for all to achieve their fullest potential in the sector.
Progressing Beyond Exclusivity
Inclusion extends far beyond gender equality and the empowerment of women. It involves the genuine representation and engagement of people from diverse backgrounds, identities, cultures, and experiences. In a world where inclusivity fuels success, brands that cling to exclusivity are destined to fail. Renowned high-fashion label, Tommy Hilfiger, has acknowledged the need for change, and has embarked on a profound transformation to depart from their once-exclusive, preppy image. Instead, they have adopted a comprehensive vision that renders clothing inclusive, accessible, and fashionable.
Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive Collection
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Spring 2021 saw Tommy Hilfiger launching its Adaptive collection, a ground-breaking line of clothing designed to simplify dressing for adults and children with disabilities. The collection showcased individuals of all ages and genders, each with unique disabilities, dressed in garments that were designed with thoughtful modifications that facilitated mobility. The Adaptive collection has opened the doors to inclusivity, rendering fashion more accessible and appealing, while also inspiring fellow designer brands to consider a wider, more diverse audience.
The Evolution of Inclusive Branding
In today’s landscape, consumers no longer settle for mere products; they actively seek out brands that align with their values. Brands have to move past mere token gestures and delve deep into the societal issues that sustain inequalities and underrepresentation. So, what’s the solution? Championing diversity and cultivating an inclusive culture marks a crucial stride in the right direction.