Campaign calls for a day of action not commercialism for IWD

The ‘Still Present’ campaign aims to galvanise a new generation of activists

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


‘The signs of yesterday are still relevant today.

A sign to stay present in the fight.’ 

This is the insight at the heart of a thoughtful new campaign to remind people that International Women’s Day is a day of action, not commercialism. 

While email inboxes swell with the weight of IWD promotions the ‘Still Present’ campaign from AnalogFolk is a compelling reminder of the necessity of activism, not commercial appropriation, that is still so relevant today. 

The campaign uses imagery from protest signs of the past to galvanise a new generation of activists to fight for tomorrow on IWD and beyond.

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As the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently told the opening session of the Commission on the Status of Women, progress on women’s rights is ‘vanishing before our eyes’. “Women’s rights are being abused, threatened and violated around the world,” he added, as he ticked off a litany of crises: maternal mortality, girls ousted from school, caregivers denied work and children forced into early marriage. 

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. In 2022, the US Supreme Court took away the constitutional right to abortion in the United States, further stripping women of their rights. According to data from UN Women, women perform 66% of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, but earn only 10% of the income and own 1% of the property. Statistics that underline ‘embracing equity’ will take far more than posting an image hugging yourself. 

‘Still Present’ is not for profit and has been created by AnalogFolk to reignite the true purpose of International Women’s Day.

"Today is not a day to celebrate ourselves. It's not a day to buy ourselves something. It's a day of action to continue where women before us over 100+ years ago started,” explained Anna-Louise Gladwell, managing director of AnalogFolk London.

She continued: “By digitising these historic protest signs, they become a powerful weapon for modern activism. They can be easily distributed and shared online, allowing their messages to reach and engage a far wider audience. Our aim is to show how these signs are shockingly still relevant today and make them accessible to a new generation of activists, giving them a tool to fight for their causes while also educating people on the history of past protests.” 

The future of social activism  

When IWD began, protests happened in the streets. This campaign seeks to capitalise on the fact that social movements happen as much in digital spaces as physical ones. 

The campaign has created a digital protest pack, as well as a website featuring repurposed historical protest signs. All designed to drive modern activism. 

People can add these historical protest signs to their social feeds with the hashtag #IWD2023 #StillPresent or print them out to protest on the streets to raise awareness about the different issues and causes that women still need to fight for today. 

People can pick a sign that resonates with them or represents their values, and the related protest sign is a call to action encouraging others to join the initiative. The website includes the historical context for the signs and the protest each was used in. The signs include: ‘Keep Abortion Legal’  from a rally in Washington D.C in 1989 featuring ‘Jane Roe’ from Roe v Wade. An ‘Equal Pay Without Delay’ sign from a protest in London in 1952. As well as a ‘‘Rape is a Crime Against Civilisation’ and ‘Women are Not Objects of Pleasure’ signs from a protest in India 1980. The site also amplifies existing organisations and activists investing in creating genuine change.

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