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Avon partners Marie Claire to launch #Speakout campaign

Marie Claire UK and Avon have joined forces to host a roundtable discussion on reclaiming the negative language used to describe women.

Avon partners Marie Claire to launch #Speakout campaign
Andrea Thompson (centre): “We are still a century away from gender parity.” Photograph: Ben Lis, Avon

Hosted to mark International Women’s Day, Avon partnered with Marie Claire to launch #SpeakOut, a campaign calling for an end to the pejorative words and phrases such as ‘bossy’, ‘lippy’ and ‘bitchy’ which are used to silence women, say the publishers.

Marie Claire editor-in-chief Andrea Thompson chaired the roundtable and was joined by Avon CEO Angela Cretu; transgender Avon representative Daniella Schofield; rapper C Cane; Changing Faces’ Brenda Finn; journalist Nana Soares; The Good Lad Initiative’s Ben Hurst; and Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, Agnieszka Lyons.

Opening the discussion, Angela Cretu said: “We are here today to create a movement against the systems that are holding women back when they try to express themselves.”

Andrea Thompson added: “According to the World Economic Forum, we are still a century away from gender parity. And even more alarming is the fact that England failed to even make the top ten of the 2020 Global Gender Index. Legislation is vital to close this gap, but so is the every day language used towards and about women, and the phrases in our common vernacular which are used to silence and undermine them that are seldom applied to strong men.”

Speakers discussed the differences in words used to describe men and women; why it’s important to bring men into the conversation to make them aware of the impact language can have and the role they can play in fighting gender inequality; and actions that can be taken at an individual level to effect change.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, for a week from Monday 9th March, Marie Claire and Avon will post daily social media content to encourage people to join the #SpeakOut movement, including voxpops on their Instagram Stories and quotes on twitter sharing highlights from the discussion. This sits alongside editorial features on marieclaire.co.uk, to encourage both men and women to SpeakOut.

Commenting on the partnership, Andrea says: “Marie Claire is renowned for its campaigning spirit and for leading the conversation on the issues that matter most to women. #SpeakOut addresses concerns we know are weighing on the minds of our readers and speaks to their experiences of being a woman at work in 2020. Collaborating with Avon for the launch and using Marie Claire’s platform to share the conversation we had around that table, we hope to empower women to redress the share of equal voice we are currently deprived of.”