Cannes’ ‘Glass Lion’ Award Will Honor Outstanding Achievements In Gender Issues—But Did They Really Have To Call It That?


Cannes Lions is fighting gender discrimination with its new award, the Glass Lion: The Lion for Change. The Glass Lion was created with support from LeanIn.Org, and recognizes work that challenges gender bias and stereotypes about men and women in marketing media.

The decision to launch this award was fueled by the festival’s belief that images in marketing play a huge role in shaping our culture. The hope is that by showcasing the accomplishments of those striving for change, it will encourage others to improve gender discussions and lead to more progressive images within the media.

More information about the exact details of the award will be revealed over the next few weeks, but as of now we know that Cannes Lions will donate all proceeds from the Glass Lion entry fees and, “put them back into a programme that promotes and enables the creation of a more gender-neutral media landscape.”

Founder of LeanIn, Sheryl Sandberg wanted this award to clearly tackle gender misrepresentation: “You can’t be what you can’t see – and how we market to women is critically important. 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 Glass Lion will be awarded to highly creative, positive and progressive contributions to gender representation in advertising and communications.

While we aren’t totally psyched about the name or the awkward binary of frailty and strength within the concept design, it is a positive step for equality as more organizations encourage gender diversity. Marketing has often used women’s bodies in order to sell products that promote men’s hyper-masculinity, and anything that attempts to reverse this overwhelming trend is certainly worth the investment. Hopefully the next advancement won’t have to remind us of a women’s perceived fragility. 

Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld/MakeLoveNotPorn, will be the first Glass Lions’ jury president. Entry for the Glass Lions opens March 2nd, closes March 27th, and will be awarded on the 23rd of June. 


Image c/o Pascal Lauener/Reuters

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