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
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
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
We stand with you.
Signed: The Collective
Regional Creative Director, JWT
Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy West
Chief Creative Officer, FCB Ulka
National Creative Director, Lowe Lintas
Chief Creative Officer, Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi
Co-founder Director, Elephant Design
Founder & Creative Director, Tomorrow Creative Lab
Chairwoman & Chief Creative Officer, Vyas Giannetti Creative
Executive Creative Director, DDB Mudra
Executive Creative Director, Taproot Dentsu
Managing Director, Landor
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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