Girls Inc. ad campaign raises awareness about challenges girls face, makes call for action
Screengrab from the Girls Inc. video campaign.
Girls Inc. — a nonprofit dedicated to helping young women become “strong, smart and bold” — has launched a public service advertising campaign to raise awareness and money for underprivileged girls.
The campaign, which was created by MARC USA in Chicago, highlights statistics about the reality of teenage pregnancy, girls’ high school dropout rates, and more.
“We want to create a movement,” Judy Vredenburgh, chief executive of Girls Inc., told The New York Times this week. She said the campaign is intended to reach women of all ages — particularly women who have experienced some of the issues highlighted in the video campaign.
In the video, three girls articulate the challenges that young women face: “I’m at risk of thinking there’s just no point in trying. … I’m at risk of looking in the mirror and hating what I see. … I’m at risk of being told not to tell.” Corresponding statistics accompany their statements: “1 in 4 girls will not finish high school. … 78% of girls under 17 are unhappy with their bodies. … 1 in 5 girls will be a victim of childhood sexual abuse.”
“With you in my corner,” one of the girls says, “I will win.”
Female empowerment has been the focus of many ads throughout the past year. There’s Pantene’s “Not Sorry” ad campaign; Dove’s “Selfie” campaign; New York City’s “I’m a Girl” campaign; and Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign, to name a few.
Despite some criticism, these campaigns have been praised for the awareness they’ve raised about the issues women face — and the organizations that are trying to help them. They represent a shift away from the distorted messages the media has traditionally spread about how women should look, act and dress. And they’re an important reminder that advertising and media outlets have the power to change these messages by empowering women rather than creating unrealistic ideals for them.
We still have a long way to go, but campaigns like the Girls Inc. one are a hopeful indicator that change is happening.