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17 October 2016

Women in the World: Smashing glass ceilings through smart screens

Written by: Emilie Beckwith, Account Executive at Edelman

Culture, Media, Women In The World

A Connected World. The Internet of Things. Disruptive technology. Are these simply buzzwords uttered by someone who has swallowed the latest Economist? Or, are they telling signposts to a transition, not only in Communications Marketing but, more broadly, the world we live in?

I recently attended the Women in the World forum, the first of four events in partnership with Edelman UK. I was lucky enough to join the crème de la crème of UK journalism, as well as clients and fellow colleagues to listen to some of the world’s most celebrated, and most silenced, women.

The forum’s purpose is to shed light on the experience of women: UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad discussed coping with terror and conflict, reflecting on when she was among 5,000 other Yazidi women captured by Isis; the no-nonsense Ukrainian MP Nadiya Savchenko told her story of hunger strikes and life in a Russian prison; the First Lady of Afghanistan Rula Ghani spoke about the new era for social justice in the country; Actress Rosamund Pike even showed up to chat about the Oscar nominated Gone Girl and her role in new film A United Kingdom. The forum was streamed exclusively on Facebook Live, naturally.

“I want to illuminate the world through the lives of women”, said Tina Brown, Founder and CEO of Women in the World, in the opening remarks of the forum. Tina’s journalism style of experiential publishing has done well to capitalise on this new wave of consumer demand for real-time engagement. 1.71 billion people are now on Facebook. Women in the World successfully tapped into this vast market and secured 372,000 unique viewers in the week following the forum, with the largest audience watching from the UK, India, Germany, the US and Iraq respectively.

At the least, Facebook Live was a digital platform to scale its audience beyond the four walls of 105 Victoria Street and onto the wider world. Not only that, Facebook Live was a weapon to promote female protest and popularise female power.

According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2016, Smartphone news has risen to a record 46% in the past three years, with many publishers reporting the majority of traffic from mobile devices. So what does this mean for Communications Marketing? Whether it is upgrading digital assets or navigating sensitive content, it is our responsibility to ensure that we advise companies to capitalise on this rapidly growing industry. The crux of our challenge is to ensure our clients’ digital campaigns have impact and are not lost in the depths of a digital abyss.

In a world where a Saturday brunch is locked in a Snapchat, a wedding is captured in an Instagram Story or, more critically, shootings are broadcast on Facebook Live, connectivity is key.

Brands such as Women in the World are on a mission: to capitalise on these new modes of Digital Consumerism, leveraging some of the most critical issues of our time and smashing glass ceilings in the process.

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