Products of Change


Fri 10 Mar 2023 | by Helena Mansell-Stopher & Rob Hutchins

Friday Thoughts | Embracing Equity over Equality

The United Nations warned us at the start of the week that at its current pace, gender equality is projected to be 300 years away. Before the Covid pandemic struck, that projection was 150 years. Of the three billion people that are still unconnected to the internet, the majority are women and girls in developing countries. In the least developed countries, we are told, just 19% of women are online. What this statistic tells us is these are women whose access to life-saving information and online public services are therefore severely limited. The impact of this is, as Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women told us all this week, that ‘in turn, this fundamentally influences whether a woman completes her education, owns her own bank account, makes informed decisions about her body, feeds her family, or gains productive employment.’ The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was #EmbraceEquity, encouraging us all to think about equity over equality and get the world talking about ‘why equal opportunities are no longer enough’. Equity recognises that each person comes from a different starting point, and therefore, allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome. Equality focuses on providing all genders with equal opportunities. But we know that women often require more than a level playing field. They need to belong to a culture that actively promotes and supports them in all aspects of their life, from education and the workplace to health. Its why International Women’s Day is such an incredibly important date in the calendar. For all the women out there, it’s been wonderful to see the amazing support for the strides being made in society. We have a long, long way to go, but we are making progress. In our own spheres of influence, we still see under-representation, particularly when it comes to senior leadership roles, but that landscape is changing slowly. When we talk about International Women’s Day, I also think it’s important we celebrate the men that support us. I for one could not have travelled over the last few weeks without the support of my husband and the Products of Change team. For me, it’s about creating an equitable society and for that, we all must be lifted and supported. One woman who is a true force of nature is the wonderful Cristina Angelucci from Brands Media. I’ve been very fortunate this week to witness first-hand the success she has made of the Bologna Licensing Trade Fair, the trade show she runs in conjunction with the Bologna Children’s Book Fair where she showcases the innovation and creativity within the children’s content space. I also watched as the industry celebrated all those innovating the sector forwards via the Bologna Licensing Awards and cheered along as Products of Change member, IMPS (The Smurfs) collected their award, alongside the likes of Sanrio for its Little Miss Waste Less character and Bluey.

The Smurfs team collect their accolade at the 2023 Bologna Licensing Awards.
Here in the UK, and the first Products of Change Circular Packaging Design Course got underway with members from across the consumer products sectors tuning into the online session this week with POC’s packaging ambassador, Mike Swain leading the educational session with aplomb. We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone in-person next week when the follow-up Workshop takes place next Tuesday. A big project that Products of Change has been working on across its members for the last few months is nearing completion, which is incredibly exciting. We cannot wait to launch what we believe will be a cornerstone to industry transformation. And given the news stories that have been doing the rounds on LinkedIn this week, we dare say that the industry is more than ready to start implementing the changes the project will facilitate… We can’t wait to reveal more on this very, very soon. Another massively warm welcome gets extended to our latest Products of Change member, PulpWorks Inc. We can’t wait to tell you a whole lot more about the business and its role to play in the sustainable development of our wonderful industry.