Dentsu and SeeHer Partner to Champion Gender Equality

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NEW YORK, NY, October 15, 2020 — Dentsu and SeeHer released an original study today on consumers’ perception on gender equality, a topic previously with little attention in mainstream research. In a year rife with turmoil, with a global pandemic and a long overdue reckoning over racial injustice at the forefront of consumer sentiment, the partners are doubling down on gender equality and championing meaningful progress.

Dentsu has joined forces with Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) SeeHer, the leading global movement for gender equality in media, advertising, marketing and entertainment. This alliance marks the first time a holding company has partnered with the organization at the enterprise level. One of the first outputs of this multi-tiered collaboration is a new proprietary research study, Perceptions of Progress: The State of Women’s Equality in the US.

The research study, the first in a series, examines consumers’ attitudes around the progress and barriers to gender equality. This edition provides an overview of the survey findings and parses out the differences in perception by gender. Subsequent reports will dissect results by generation and ethnicity/race. Both dentsu and SeeHer recognize the power of tangible data and actionable insights to impact and inspire lasting change. This report is also meant to illuminate the actions the marketing community can take to further equality.

“In order to affect change, companies and brands need a pulse on consumer attitudes and expectations,” said Dirk Herbert, Chief Strategy Officer, dentsu Americas. “This study seeks to not only uncover the main disconnects between Americans’ perceptions of the state of gender equality and the reality of women’s experiences, but also offer a point-of-view on how media, brands and consumers can work to bridge those gaps on the path towards equality.”

The survey was administered through Toluna, an online research panel, among a random, nationally-representative sample of 800 respondents, aged 18-65 years old and residing in the United States. Among the report's initial findings is a clear misalignment between how men and women perceive barriers in our society, and what role both sexes can play in helping advance equality.

“This new research shows that more than seven out of 10 Americans -- women and men -- believe that women’s equality is a very important issue to them and they expect brands and media to do more to fix this issue,” said Nadine Karp McHugh, President, SeeHer – ANA.  “That is a powerful mandate for change that brings leading marketers and media companies together under the SeeHer banner to use their collective power to create accurate portrayals of women and girls in marketing, advertising, media and content. The data reminds us that gender equality is not a woman’s issue, it’s a societal issue. And the SeeHer movement is uniquely positioned as a catalyst to impact change.”

In addition, Americans see the media as uniquely able to positively impact gender equality through better representation of women. Yet, satisfaction with the current state of representation is low, especially among women. While consumers see the involvement of brands – as both marketers and employers – as crucial to creating an equal society, they simultaneously assess that brands and companies are not doing enough to support gender equality. For example, 45% of respondents say brands have a responsibility to improve women’s equality, but just 39% said that brands have made significant progress on this front over the past decade.

“It’s clear that issues of gender equality have permeated the public consciousness,” said Jacki Kelley, CEO, Americas, dentsu. “We are proud to support the important work of SeeHer, and continue to partner with our clients and the industry to ensure that we play a leading role in bringing about positive change in the accurate portrayal of women in marketing, advertising, and entertainment.”  

Download the report>

Media Contact: Jennifer Ferguson, Chief Communications Officer, dentsu Americas

About dentsu

Part of dentsu Group, dentsu is made up of nine leadership brands - Carat, dentsu X, iProspect, Isobar, dentsumcgarrybowen, Merkle, MKTG, Vizeum, Posterscope and supported by its specialist brands. Dentsu helps clients to win, keep and grow their best customers and achieve meaningful progress for their businesses. With best-in-class services and solutions in media, CXM, and creative, dentsu operates in over 145 markets worldwide with more than 48,000 dedicated specialists. Follow us on Twitter @DentsuUSA and visit

About SeeHer
A division of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), SeeHer is a collective of leading marketers committed to creating advertising and supporting content that portrays women and girls as they really are. It launched in June 2016 in partnership with The Female Quotient (The FQ) in Washington, D.C. at the United State of Women. To help marketers benchmark success, the group developed Gender Equality Measure™, (GEM™), the first research methodology that quantifies gender bias in ads and programming. GEM shows that content portraying women accurately dramatically increases purchase intent and brand reputation, increasing return on investment by as much as 30 percent. GEM won the prestigious 2017 ESOMAR Research Effectiveness Award, and the methodology became the industry