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The fight for equality unites this year’s Spikes Asia Glass shortlist

SINGAPORE — The shortlist for Glass: The Award for Change at the 2024 Spikes Asia Awards has officially been released, with New Zealand’s “Correct the Internet,” the Philippines’ “Right to Care,” United Arab Emirate’s “Schoolgirl Newscasters,” and India’s “Words of Pride” vying for the award. The winner will be announced at the Spikes Asia awarding ceremony on March 14 at Swissotel The Stamford, Singapore.

Glass: The Award for Change celebrates the use of creativity to enact social good and inspire positive cultural shifts. The four entries shortlisted for the win this year each, in one way or another, push for SOGIESC (sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics) equality, proving it to be an advocacy that remains relevant to the world and to creativity.

“Correct the Internet” by Team Heroine and DDB New Zealand tackles the inherent gender bias in internet search results. The movement launched with a video of a young girl asking the internet which football player scored the most goals in international competition, and being told that it was Cristiano Ronaldo — which is factually wrong. Canada’s Christine Sinclair is the all-time record holder, with 190 international goals to Ronaldo’s 118.

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Because search algorithms are trained by biased users, the results we get are often skewed towards male athletes. By calling attention to the gender bias and providing an avenue for users to fact-check the search results, “Correct the Internet” raised awareness not only for more equal representation in sports, but in other fields where algorithms incorrectly favor males.

With the “Right to Care” card developed by Mullenlowe Treyna and the Quezon City Local Government Unit, the Philippines found a small step towards better SOGIESC equality. The country has long been unable (or unwilling) to pass legislation that would offer equal rights and protections to LGBTQIA+ individuals, including the right to marry one’s same-sex partner. This has often led to situations where LGBTQIA+ people are forbidden to be by the side of their convalescent or terminally ill partners, as they cannot legally be recognized as their spouses or next of kin. In many of these cases, the patients had been shunned by their families because of their SOGIESC, leaving them with no one who could legally care for them.

“Right to Care” is a right granted to LGBTQIA+ citizens of Quezon City who simply want to be able to be there for the people they love. Registering for the card grants the bearer the same medical rights spouses or next of kin would have in terms of caring and making decisions for their partners. The program was immediately celebrated as a step forward in a country where SOGIESC equality legislation has been stalled for decades.

“Schoolgirl Newscasters” by Impact BBDO Dubai and EBM tackled the prevalent issue of parents taking girls out of school in favor of male children, a practice still seen in countries like the UAE and Pakistan. Because girls aren’t often seen as equals in society, their education is secondary to those of boys, with parents preferring that the girls learn how to manage a household instead. As a result, roughly 66 percent of girls don’t even make it to high school.

For one night, the regular news anchors at one of Pakistan’s leading news channels were replaced with schoolgirls, who reported their predicament as breaking news. Not only did “Schoolgirl Newscasters” force millions of viewers to confront this reality, it also gave visible proof that schoolgirls are capable of doing so much more than housework if given the opportunity. The campaign went viral almost overnight, starting some much-needed conversations and contributing to a 57 percent uptick in enrollments for girls in more than 160 schools

The final nominee for the Spikes Asia Glass Award is “Words of Pride” by DDB Mudra and Disney Star, a movement to improve the language around LGBTQIA+ people in India and, in turn, improve their treatment. The campaign launched with a video of queer people in India sharing their stories about how there were no respectful words for their SOGIESC, only slurs. Even words like “lesbian” were used like swear words rather than factual identifiers.

“Words of Pride” aimed to address the issue by creating a website containing respectful words for LGBTQIA+ in seven different Indian languages. Since words quite often shape how we see the world and its people, tackling the issue of inequality and discrimination by promoting positive language proved to be an effective tool for changing India’s attitudes towards LGBTQIA+ people for the better.

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of the 2024 Spikes Asia Awards.

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