Seen+Noted: Global Women NZ says “It’s time to drop the motherhood penalty” in new International Women’s Day campaign

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Global Women New Zealand has released its 2021 campaign for International Women’s Day via Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand, highlighting the “Motherhood Penalty” and the startling fact that on average, mothers earn 12.5%* less than fathers of the same age and education over the course of their career.


The campaign was created by internationally awarded director Anna Mantzaris of Passion Animation Studios and Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand. It builds on the humorous workplace scenarios Mantzaris conceived for her critically acclaimed short film “Enough” and suggests that there is almost nothing a woman could do in the workplace that is more “career limiting” than having a baby.

Mantzaris was one of the directors featured in the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors showcase in Cannes in 2019.

Says Steve Cochran, CCO of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand: “The effort and brilliance from Anna and everyone else who helped make this work was phenomenal. We hope it means the message travels far and wide around the world. We owe her, and everyone else who helped pull this campaign together more gratitude than we can express. As a husband and a father, I’ve seen up close the way being a mother can impact a woman’s career and trajectory. And yes, from my position of male privilege you might say. There’s no simple answer. But self-awareness and consciousness of employers is certainly a place to start. I’m able to say that Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand has made this a priority. We’re also proudly part of Champions for Change, and are committed to impacting change in our business and, as this work sets out to do, across New Zealand.”

Says Kate Stanners, chairwoman and global chief creative officer, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide: “It’s hard to believe it but taking a career break to have a family is still for many women, career-limiting. Women find it harder to get back into work, and when they do, discover they have missed out on crucial years of career development, that results in fewer senior women at the top, and a widening pay gap. We hope that this campaign will draw the entire workforce’s attention to this issue and start addressing some of the systems, structures and biases that are penalising women in the workplace.

“Part of our push with New Directors showcase has been to encourage more female film making talent. Anna’s film was a real favourite of mine. Comedy is very difficult to do and there is very little around in our industry. She has great comic timing instinctively delivered in how she tells stories. Applying that to a serious campaign cause as we have here with Global Women is refreshing.”

Says Mantzaris: “I just fell in love with this project as soon as Saatchi & Saatchi got in touch with us. It is the most rewarding thing to be able to combine my creativity with a subject that is really close to my heart, so it was an honour to be asked to work on this project. It is very sad that the pay gap and the way women, or rather mothers, are being treated by the work environment is still the way it is. I don’t believe that this is something that is happening intentionally but rather a consequence of our culture and failing to see invisible obstacles and discriminations that mothers are constantly being faced with in the work area. I think International Women’s Day is a really good opportunity to shine light on inequalities that exists today and even though this should not be the only day we talk about these subjects; it gives a good opportunity to highlight some issues and create a discussion around them.”