Canon Middle East has launched on International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 its latest program ‘Women who Empower’, coinciding with this year’s IWD theme #ChooseToChallenge. The theme encourages women to choose to challenge gender bias and inequality and celebrate women’s achievements as well.
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The year-long program is kicking off with a social media campaign which invites women in the creative industries in the Middle East, Central and North Africa and Turkey (META) to be a part of an initiative that enables them to bring forward their creative works, along with the challenges that they face in taking their initiative and be given the opportunity to take their projects forward.
Participants can share a photo or record a one-minute video that showcases their original work with a caption describing the challenges they face in building their creative brand. Participants must upload them on their social media pages while tagging Canon Middle East on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and including #ChooseToChallenge, #Womenwhoempower and #CanonME hashtags.
Mai Youssef, Corporate Communications and Marketing Services Director of META, said: “In celebration of the International Women’s Day and in support of this year’s campaign themed #ChooseToChallenge, Canon Middle East shares the same view of encouraging women to speak about their challenges as well as celebrate their achievements. There are countless unknown artists and creative designers who deserve to be recognized and be supported in the challenges they face as they work to create something unique for the world to see. We hope to give them a chance and voice through this campaign.”
The ‘Women who Empower’ program seeks to support women by offering them Canon’s direct support to build their brand and reach wider audiences in their respective creative fields. It will be rolled out in three phases that include education, engagement, and celebration.
The campaign has four pillars which attracted the support of pioneering women in their fields who would mentor the participants and judge the entries; Tasneem Alsultan, a Saudi photographer, artist and Canon ambassador is representing the ‘Women with a Vision’ pillar, while painter and artist Gehan Fawzi is the ambassador for ‘Women with a Passion’. Art director and fine arts and fashion photographer and Canon Ambassador Menna Hossam is the flag bearer for ‘Women with a Story’ and a lifestyle editor and journalist take the stand for ‘Women with a Voice’. Under each pillar, women who have submitted their photos or videos will be reviewed and one woman will be chosen to be featured every month, prior to receiving support from Canon to help them build their audience reach in their respective fields.
The company will also build on ‘She Rise’ programme dedicated to women within the company, which was launched in 2020 as part of its continuing commitment to empower and advance its women employees. The multi-stage program is designed to provide mentoring, training, and feedback sessions, and involves 10 to 15 young women from across the organization. The program is being implemented in three modules this year, workplace habits, the value of resilience, and unconscious bias.
These programmes are crucial in bringing greater gender equality to workplace leadership positions and are aimed at helping women develop deeper personal insights and clearer action plans on how they plan to take forward their progress into their own communities.
Canon values empowering women in the workplace through several initiatives such as providing support to working parents, maternity leave policies that exceed the mandated laws of the country it operates in, and flexible working hours, among others. Canon has maternity leave policies of 112 calendar days since the early 2000s and this year, the company has further extended paternity leaves to 15 days. The company also encourages women to return to work following a career break, allowing them to get back to the roles they have left and take their career forward.
Canon which has more than 50 per cent of women occupying leadership roles in the Middle East and Africa HQ, has been building women empowerment programs for many years driven by the company’s corporate philosophy ‘Kyosei,’ which means living and working together for the common good, and under the respect for humanity pillar.
Follow Canon Middle East on social media to find out more and get involved: