In celebration of International Women’s Day held recently, female employees at X3M Ideas, a Lagos based creative agency, unveiled a new campaign that addresses workplace gender bias.
Explaining the rationale for the XX Takeover, Adenike Odutola of X3M Ideas and coordinator of the project, explains that the ‘XX’ in XX takeoverwas inspired by the female sex chromosome. The initiative itself, aims to address the gender bias women face in the workplace and also show women support by letting them know we believe in their abilities.
As part of the agency’s contribution to ending gender inequality in the workplace, the XX Takeover team went this route because they identified gender bias not only in the advertising industry, but generally in the workplace. “We wanted to make a bold statement that showed that women are capable of more if given equal opportunities. So for one day, all the female employees took over management roles and ran the office smoothly. It was such a huge success and it was realized that it could be so much bigger if other organisations buy into the idea”, the Coordinator explains.
Beyond the XX takeover activation, X3M also deployed thought provoking communication materials through traditional and digital media platforms in a bid to keep the issue on the front burners of discussions.
One of the materialsaddresses the pregnancy discrimination women face at work, due to assumptions that they are less effective while pregnant. From afar, the copy boldly announces ‘We Are Downsizing’ but on a closer look, cleverly placed text in a smaller size reveal a different meaning that reads- “WE”are letting you go because you are pregnant, no hard feelings but you“ARE”not going to be able to carry out your duties effectively, so since we are“DOWNSIZING” you are an easy choice for getting the axe’.
Another material tagged “I Like You”also looks ordinary but when one reads between the lines, you come face to face with the ugly but common place incidences of “sex for roles or positions in organizations. All the materials end with a reality check line claiming, “Workplace discrimination might be subtle but it’s there”.
Speaking further on the activation, Adenike says “This simple gesture was our way of showing we believe in the ability of our women and we recognize that gender inequality in the workplace is not just a ‘women’s issue’ but ‘everyone’s issue’.