New Glass Lion Aims To Challenge Glass Ceiling

Adland has long been criticized for its lack of gender equality (among other diversity issues). Now Cannes Lions is stepping up with a new award that addresses the issue with a focus on recognizing work aimed at challenging gender bias. It’s called the Glass Lion: The Lion For Change.

According to the organization, the new Lion will award work that “shatters stereotypical images of men and women which remain rooted in marketing messages.”

Former adwoman Cindy Gallop — a founder of BBH New York and more recently head of the advocacy group, IfWeRanTheWorld/MakeLoveNotPorn — has been appointed the inaugural Glass Lions’ Jury President. The first batch of the new awards will be issued at the next Cannes Lions Festival in June.



The award was developed with input from Sheryl Sandberg’s LeanIn.Org. Sandberg approached the Cannes Lions group last year after it launched its “See It Be It” campaign, designed to accelerate women’s creative careers in advertising, and urged the group to launch an award specifically to tackle misrepresentation of gender.

“If our messages to women — and men — portray equality, we will help create a more equal world,” said Sandberg.

Added Gallop: ‘I couldn’t be more thrilled about the introduction of the Glass Lion, which demonstrates Cannes Lions’ commitment to ensuring that both our industry and the work we create not only more accurately reflects the world around us, but actively changes it for the better.”

Senta Slingerland, Lions Festivals Director of Brand Strategy, said: “To date, a predominately male voice has informed the creation of a lot of the marketing messaging. Applying creativity to capture the hearts and minds of the largest consumer base in the world — women — will inform the financial future of the industry. This will require a more gender-balanced talent pool.”

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