Issues that affect women are important to Flow Communications – after all, we’re a company owned and run (largely) by women.
August has come to be known as “women’s month” in South Africa, because of the country’s annual Women’s Day, which commemorates the groundbreaking Women’s March of 9 August 1956.
On that day, 20 000 women from all races and walks of life marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against the apartheid government extending pass laws to black women. The pass law required that black people carry a “pass book” – a kind of domestic passport – when entering urban areas.
Sadly, today South African women still face discrimination, despite our Constitution prohibiting any prejudice that rests on the grounds of an innate characteristic such as gender or skin colour. Also, our country’s women still face high levels of gender-based violence and poverty.
Changing the narrative
Flow is doing what it can to change the narrative that women are somehow lesser citizens. We do it by example – half of our board members are women and our shareholding is 67% female – and we do it in our work.
In fact, quite a bit of our work deals directly with women’s rights, and one of the most prominent women’s rights organisations we work with is UN Women or, if you want to use its official name: the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
UN Women is a global champion for women and girls, established in 2010 to accelerate progress on meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide.
Father’s Day video call to action
We’re extremely proud of the video we produced for UN Women, for Father’s Day 2020 on 21 June.
The video was commissioned by UN Women, in conjunction with South African non-governmental organisations Sonke Gender Justice and the Justice and Peace Commission, various faith organisations and the United Nations “family” in South Africa. The brief was for a 30-second video for use on social media.
The video that came out of this collaboration was a call to all men in South Africa to take a firm stand against gender-based violence and femicide, particularly during the national lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19. Research revealed that gender-based violence had reached such heights during the lockdown that it is termed “a silent epidemic” accompanying the Covid-19 pandemic. The campaign was endorsed by the South African Council of Churches.
Helping to launch the Unstereotype Alliance
Flow also worked with UN Women on the launch of the Unstereotype Alliance’s South Africa Chapter in 2020.
The Unstereotype Alliance operates a thought and action platform that seeks to eradicate harmful gender-based stereotypes in all media and advertising content.
The alliance uses its platform to run a campaign led by the advertising industry that aims to drive positive change all over the world by using the power of advertising to help dismantle preconceived ideas about different categories of people.
When it comes to women, the alliance contributes to their empowerment, embracing their diversity and addressing harmful perceptions about masculinity and femininity, working towards a world in which the genders are viewed equally.
Flow did the photography for the launch day, supplied banners and did the printing of the programmes.
Stimulating equal opportunities for women-owned businesses
Flow also worked with UN Women on one of the organisation’s flagship programmes on women’s economic empowerment. The flagship programmes are high-impact, scalable initiatives that build on and supplement UN Women’s ongoing programmes.
UN Women asked Flow to produce a report and a work plan on a proposed strategy so that the organisation could document success stories from the project. It also asked Flow to provide photography, informatics and videography.
A national action plan
Turning specifically to South Africa, we are thrilled with the 10-minute video we produced with the UN Women’s South Africa Multi-Country Office and the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities on South Africa’s Gender-based Violence and Femicide National Strategic Plan.
The video highlights the high levels of gender-based violence and femicide in South Africa, and the final version was played in a live broadcast at a summit held by President Cyril Ramaphosa to raise funds for curbing the incidence of gender-based violence and femicide.