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Open Letter: A step towards fighting sexual harassment in the ad world

The initiative is called ‘The Collective’. Here are the details.

Open Letter: A step towards fighting sexual harassment in the ad world
Ashwini Deshpande

Ashwini Deshpande, co-founder and director, Elephant Design reached out to us yesterday with an Open Letter about something that's on all our minds: Sexual harassment at the workplace. The letter was signed by some senior members of the Indian advertising industry. Here's a copy of the letter:

Dear Women of Indian Advertising, Design & Media,

We have spent the last few days in pain.

After reading horrifying accounts of harassment in our industry, we’ve

questioned ourselves and each other. We’ve felt sad, angry and violated at the

same time.

Any form of harassment is not okay. Period. Nobody should be able to use

their power of authority or gender to discriminate, abuse or harass anyone. As

an industry we cannot move forward till the time we can make it a safe space

for everybody.

We are aware that each of our companies has policies and practices in place.

However, we do feel it will only help to have a platform that is agency/network

agnostic, easily accessible, backed by women leaders, with a singular focus on

addressing harassment across the Indian Advertising, Design & Media industry,

at both network and independent agencies. We need to work towards it as an


We realize our leadership positions come with immense responsibility and

therefore can help trigger a change, start a conversation and help bring the talk

on the table.

We appreciate the courage of those of you who have come forward.

We also call upon men in leadership positions to help us do this so that both

women and men see a bright future here.

We love this business as much as you do and we will continue working to make

our industry better and responsible, where we can hold our work and our

standards high.

We stand with you.

Signed: The Collective

Tista Sen

Regional Creative Director, JWT

Kainaz Karmakar,

Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy West

Swati Bhattacharya

Chief Creative Officer, FCB Ulka

Deepa Geethakrishnan

National Creative Director, Lowe Lintas

Delna Sethna

Chief Creative Officer, Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi

Ashwini Deshpande

Co-founder Director, Elephant Design

Malvika Mehra

Founder & Creative Director, Tomorrow Creative Lab

Preeti Vyas

Chairwoman & Chief Creative Officer, Vyas Giannetti Creative

Shagun Seda

Executive Creative Director, DDB Mudra

Pallavi Chakravarti

Executive Creative Director, Taproot Dentsu

Lulu Raghavan

Managing Director, Landor

Alpana Parida

Managing Director, DY Works

We asked Ashwini Deshpande more about this timely initiative. What exactly will The Collective do? Will it be an online or offline platform? And will the group members congregate routinely to discuss issues pertaining to sexual harassment in the ad-media system?

Deshpande says, “The Collective is not a formal body or organisation nor an online platform in the making at this point. Some of us got discussing about what we could do to put a stop to sexual harassment in our industry as individuals. Our intent is to work together to address harassment in our industry. We are agency/ company/ network agnostic. The letter is the first step to show we are in this together. We are working towards a plan and any suggestions are welcome. This is the first crucial step and it needed to be done. We invite more women and men to join and together give us a voice that needs to be heard. Every policy or law is as good as its probable implementation. Creating awareness is the first step of advocacy. That’s just where we are at the moment.”

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