Cannes Lions

Cannes Adds 'Glass Lion' to Address Gender Issues

Award Singles Out Work that Betters Gender Representations in Media and Marketing

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Credit: Provided by Cannes Lions

The Cannes Lions Festival will reward outstanding efforts challenging gender biases with its newest award category -- the Glass Lion: the Lion for Change. Proceeds from the award will be re-invested into creating more gender-neutral communications.

The new accolade was created in collaboration with following last year's "See It Be It" campaign to introduce young girls to female role models in the math and science sectors. Facebook Chief Operating Officer and LeanIn Founder Sheryl Sandberg approached the Festival organizers, asking them to shed more light on the issue.

"You can't be what you can't see -- and how we market to women is critically important," said Ms. Sandberg in a statement. "If our messages to women -- and men -- portray equality, we will help create a more equal world. LeanIn.Org is thrilled that Cannes Lions is making the Glass Lion a reality so we can all applaud advertising that is more representative of the world as it should be."

The addition is the festival's latest endeavor to recognize female marketers and creatives. It comes just a couple of months after the jury president lineup reveal -- with five of this year's 15 being women.

Six of 16 now.

Former BBH New York chair and founder and longtime gender equality advocate Cindy Gallop will be the inaugural jury's president, examining marketing that has impacted the ongoing gender-representation conversation.

In a statement, she praised the festivals decision to recognize such work: "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."

This year's Glass Lion entry window will be relatively small -- submissions will be accepted as of today and will close on March 27. Winners will receive their awards on Tuesday June 23. Any points won in this new category will also count towards the Agency, Network and Holding Company of the Year awards.

In today's announcement, Lions Festival CEO Philip Thomas commented on the necessity of this award: "Creativity has the power to change culture, and the wider world, in a deeply positive way. So rewarding creative work that fights to address the (mis)representation of gender in marketing communication is something we hope will lead to real change across the industry and society."

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