WPP announces industry-leading partnership with UN Women to help achieve gender equality through the power of creativity

28 Sep 2018

WPP announces further commitments to UN Women as part of its global pledge to support the Global Goals, under the Common Ground initiative

New York, 27 September 2018 – Today, coinciding with the UN Women’s Private Sector and Philanthropic Leaders’ SDG-5 Summit, WPP announced their industry-leading collaboration with UN Women. The commitment includes global, pro-bono media support brokered by GroupM and creative services from WPP agencies to help positively impact the lives of girls and women. 

The announcement comes on the back of over $1 Million in pro-bono media placements and more than $6 Million in earned media secured for UN Women to date through multiple campaigns, as part of WPP’s support for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women, said: “Changing how women and girls are seen and valued is fundamental to creating a more equal world.  The marketing and advertising industry, which is so influential in shaping culture, is a key partner for us in this effort. With WPP, we are building both awareness and game-changing action to address gender inequality. Our work with WPP comes at the perfect time, as unprecedented numbers of women are mobilising worldwide on equality issues, ranging from ending violence and sexual harassment to calling for equal pay. This collaboration brings us both powerful imagination and industry muscle.” 

Today’s declaration will see WPP’s partnership with UN Women, the world’s leading authority on gender equality, set a new agenda on equality through creativity. In addition to this, WPP CEO Mark Read today signed up to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, established by UN Women and UN Global Compact as a guide for businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. 

Long-term global commitment driving longer-term local action 

WPP’s pledge is part of its long-term commitment to the cause of gender equality, which includes its participation in the ground-breaking industry-wide with the UN, launched in 2016 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. For 2019, the new, innovative approach titled Creativity for Equality will build on the global strengths of UN Women and WPP to drive local impact, and follows successful campaigns such as Grey NYC’s Stop The Robbery and J. Walter Thompson’s Draw The Line, as well as of the pro-bono media secured to date by GroupM to amplify UN Women’s voice.

Creativity for Equality will be piloted across six key countries: US, UK, India, Turkey, Thailand and Mexico. More than a dozen WPP agencies across these markets have committed to providing pro-bono strategic, creative and media support during two key moments in UN Women’s calendar: International Women’s Day in March and 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence in November. In the case of Mexico and the UK, the WPP teams will build on previous, successful work they created for UN Women locally. 

Lindsay Pattison, Chief Transformation Officer, WPP said: “Together with UN Women, our mission is to empower women and raise awareness of important gender equality issues.  As the world leader in communications services, WPP has the power and creative capability to help make the lives of women better across the world.”

At the core of every country activation is J. Walter Thompson’s creative power and GroupM’s media partnerships and investment strategy. GroupM have further committed to gender equality by declaring UN Women their Global Charity partner, pledging support through 2030 under the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Other capabilities within WPP, including research and insight from Kantar and PR expertise make the support from WPP truly comprehensive and unique in each market.

Kelly Clark, Global CEO, GroupM said: “Harnessing the power of GroupM’s media relationships across the globe in support of UN Women’s mission to improve gender equality is more than philanthropy, it is a business imperative. This is an important cause for our people, our clients and the world; we’re proud to help improve the lives of women and girls everywhere.”

To date, more than 33 WPP agencies have developed 26 initiatives under the Common Ground umbrella aimed at eradicating the harmful effects of gender inequality. 


Further information
[email protected], Hill+Knowlton Strategies 
+44 (0)7809 119 040

[email protected], Hill+Knowlton Strategies 
+44 (0)7881 454 920

About WPP
WPP is the world leader in communications services. The company provides a comprehensive range of services including digital, ecommerce & shopper marketing; advertising & media investment management; data investment management; public relations & public affairs; brand consulting; health & wellness communications; and specialist communications. 

About UN Women
UN Women is the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit .

About Common Ground
Launched by the world’s six largest advertising groups (Dentsu, Havas, IPG, Omnicom, Publicis Groupe and WPP) in June 2016 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Common Ground represents a working partnership that transcends commercial rivalry to: accelerate the achievement of the SDGs; demonstrate to the industry and world that the goals are of universal importance and require universal contribution; and inspire other industries to follow suit.   Each group has since launched a series of initiatives under the Common Ground banner. For more information, please see: . 

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