Advancing Diversity Honors: #FreeTheBid’s Alma Har’el

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Cover image for  article: Advancing Diversity Honors:  #FreeTheBid’s Alma Har’el

Representation, identity and the need for the entertainment and advertising industries to embrace the female gaze were at the center of the conversation between Alma Har’el, Filmmaker/Founder of #FreeTheBid, and Dentsu Aegis Network’s DK Bartley, Senior Vice President, Head of Diversity and Inclusion.  The two met before the 2019 Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors Induction Experience on January 9 during CES, where Har’el was being inducted for her work to increase gender diversity behind the camera.

“#FreeTheBid is an initiative that fights for and vocalizes the need to have more women directors in advertising, TV and film,” Har’el explained.  “We have a database that includes women from over 10 countries and is searchable by skill set.  We work with brands, ad agencies and with producers to create a pledge that allows for women to pitch and bid on projects and be included and be heard.”  (Click here for more information about #FreeTheBid.)

The movement has been embraced by many brands, but none with as much fervor as HP.  “[Former Global CMO of HP] Antonio Lucio took the pledge to work with us," Har'el said.  "When they started to work with #FreeTheBid, out of all of their international and national campaigns, zero women directed any projects.  After a year, they went up to 57% of all their projects being directed by women.

“You can imagine what that does for representation, both of women themselves and their identity," she continued.  "Also, how men are perceived because I would like to think that the female gaze, as we speak about it, is helping men also."  (Click here to hear more of Har’el’s thoughts on how the lack of representation affects both men and women.)

One of the lasting impacts of #FreeTheBid is its impact on women’s sense of self.  “We’re hoping to keep growing and allow for more stories to be told by women, and for more women to see themselves through other eyes, and not just as objects of desire for the male gaze,” Har'el concluded.

The Advancing Diversity Hall of Honors recognizes individuals, companies and organizations that have made consistent and successful commitments to advancing diversity and inclusion. 2019 Inductees included Kat Gordon, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The 3% Movement; Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, P&G; Ricardo Marques, Group Vice President of Marketing, Budweiser; Diego Scotti, Chief Marketing Officer, Verizon; Liliahn Majeed, Vice President - Diversity and Inclusion, NBA; Bob Liodice, Chief Executive Officer, Association of National Advertisers; Madonna Badger, Chief Creative Officer/Founder, Badger & Winters, and Alma Har'el, Filmmaker/Founder, #FreeTheBid.

Click below for additional videos from the 2019 Advancing Diversity Honors Hall of Induction Experience hosted by DK Bartley, SVP, Head of D&I, Dentsu Aegis Network:

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