Women around the world have been preparing for this year’s International Women’s Day , as each year we see a new campaign to not only celebrate the social, economic, culture and political achievements of women around the world, but to raise awareness of subjects that are often seen as taboo, too.
This year’s campaign, #ChooseToChallenge encourages women and their male counterparts to come together, call out inequality and help create a more inclusive world.
2020 saw a number of movements quite literally break the internet and put a hold on social media activity, including #BlackLivesMatter and the continuation of #MeToo.
Social media is the perfect tool to help raise awareness of such topics, marking a call to action and encouraging millions of people to choose to challenge. Social media allows its users to start important and often crucial, conversations. Much more powerful than we give it credit for, with social media, we can get things trending and be the driving force leading to change.
Amelia Neate, Senior Manager at Influencer Matchmaker, explains just how impactful social media can be as a tool to aid change.
“Social media gives everybody a platform, voice and the opportunity to tell their own story or help create change. And now, influencers are becoming speakers, storytellers and directors of change.
“They are much more than a #AD on Instagram, with many people, women in particular, relying on these influencers to almost fight their corner, raise awareness and make a difference.”
Almost even more astounding, some social media influencers have made themselves a career out of doing exactly that.
Fighting for change
Journalist, radio host and author, Anna Whitehouse is the face behind the globally renowned Mother Pukka blog.
Since starting her blog as a place to discuss issues such as the gender-pay gap and flexible working for all, Anna also acts as an advocate for millions.
Anna began sharing her experiences, which soon led to nationwide campaigns and now, she is one of Britain’s most popular influencers. This title, added to her many others, gave her the premise and opportunity to build a community and a relationship with her followers, of whom she knows the struggle of all too well.
Amelia said, “It is so important for women, and men, to have somebody represent them. And I believe that now, we’re living in a world where influencers are that person.
“The power of social media influencers and their voices are truly phenomenal, especially in the case of Anna as many of her campaigns have made it to parliament and are the very reason we’re beginning to see change.”
And with a call out for brands and businesses to be more diverse, influencers are now challenging those that aren’t quite doing all they should.
The Anna Edit and Lily Pebbles are just two influencers who are no longer working with beauty brands with a poor shade range, and will be questioning just how diverse a guest list is before attending a press event or trip.
Grace Victory is another example of an influencer who uses their platform to fight for change. Known for her inspiring words and passion for female advocacy, Grace’s social media channels focus on diversity and inclusion.
It’s all about social acceptance
People seek social acceptance, and really, it shouldn’t be a ‘thing’ and because of this, many influencers are working hard to make certain things that may be frowned upon, normal and accepted.
Breastfeeding for example, is something that is still somewhat of an issue for some people. Something completely normal and natural is seen as taboo.
But influencers such as DJ and presenter Ashley James and former TOWIE star Lucy Mecklenburgh, are using their platforms to help break the stigma and encourage women to feel confident and comfortable when feeding their babies.
Their Instagram accounts are a place of openness, and with a combined following of almost two million, they are making more of a difference than they perhaps realise.
Amelia said, “Female influencers are creating content that allows and facilitates worldwide acceptance, whilst providing advice, support and celebrating self-love and acceptance.”
As we move further into 2021, breastfeeding is already becoming much more widely accepted, but just how far along would we be if it weren’t for influencers doing their bit, and more?
Choose to challenge
Topics such as mental health, miscarriage and chronic illnesses have also began to become much more of the norm, across both real life and social media, and rightly so.
Amelia said, “All of these topics are now being challenged by many, with influencers calling out inequality, and as the campaign suggests, choosing to challenge.
“It’s campaigns like these that really make a difference and influencers are a huge part of that. Female empowerment is something that is beginning to take centre stage online, and I’m so proud to be a part of an industry that has helped aid that.”
Former member of The Saturdays, Frankie Bridge opened up about her own battles with anxiety and depression, and fortunately now, because of influencers such as Frankie, mental health is no longer seen as a taboo subject, or less so.
Now the author of two books and a podcast about all thing’s mental health, Frankie is just one of many influencers who have helped enable others to feel less alone, ask for help and see the positives.
And Beth Sandland and Laura Bradshaw have both opened up conversations around miscarriage and loss, sharing their own heartache to help support others and again, break the stigma surrounding something so important.
Amelia is convinced of the transformative power of influencers and explains: “Still, in 2021, there are so many taboos and such stigma around a number of things, and it can be easy to feel alone.
“However, with more influencers using their high social media status for good and helping to create an environment that allows people to feel safe, secure and no longer alone, it is clear that campaigns such as International Women’s Day’s #ChooseToChallenge are proving to be incredibly powerful.”