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Verizon, P&G and Serena Williams put their money and clout behind women’s equality programs

A documentary highlighting the 100th anniversary of the women’s vote and a partnership between Secret and Serena Williams are both helping to boost gender equality programs in the US.

Verizon is funding a feature documentary called Not Done, a 60-minute film that will air on PBS 30 June as part of its summer-long celebration of female trailblazers in honor of the women’s vote centennial. It will survey the landscape of today’s women’s movement and will feature interviews with activists, writers, celebrities, athletes and politicians, including America Ferrera, writer Roxane Gay, Natalie Portman, Gloria Steinem and others.

The documentary, supported by Verizon Media's Makers and P&G, was created by an all-female and non-binary production crew and will also be the directorial debut of Sara Wolitzky. It’s the first recipient of Verizon’s newly created Future Fund, a $5m commitment to back emerging female talent in the entertainment and tech industries.

"Not only is Not Done being created by an all female and non-binary production team, but the documentary, which is timed to the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote, is about the female trailblazers who continue to push the women’s movement forward. It is the ideal first project for the Fund to support," Diego Scotti, chief marketing officer for Verizon, told The Drum.

In addition to the funding, Verizon states it will provide Future Fund recipients with access to state-of-the-art production facilities, including the Verizon Media RYOT 5G Studio in Los Angeles and Verizon 5G Labs, as well as distribution opportunities across the Verizon Media ecosystem, which reaches nearly 900 million global consumers each month.

"Verizon has 130 million customers ages nine to 99 from all different backgrounds, races and beliefs which makes it really important for us to champion diverse voices in both the creation of our stories and the voices being heard in them," Scotti said. "As a major marketer, it's Verizon's responsibility to not only talk about the importance of diverse voices, but to put action behind the words. That is why we created the Future Fund. The $5m commitment will support new and emerging female talent in entertainment and technology ensuring female talent both in front of and behind the camera."

Added Dyllan McGee, a documentary filmmaker who is founder and executive producer of Makers and also is an executive producer on Not Done, in a release: "As a female founder and filmmaker, I know how much this opportunity means to our community and how important it is to society that these important issues come to light. The Future Fund is creating a pipeline for emerging talent that offers the chance for us to see issues from diverse perspectives and illuminate the stories and storytellers of tomorrow."

Serena Williams teams with Secret

The Future Fund was announced at the 2020 Makers Conference, where P&G and its Secret Deodorant declared a new partnership with Serena Williams to further progress gender equality and the brand pledged an additional $1m in support of equality programs.

Williams and Secret are kicking off their alliance by conducting a study, ‘Gender Inequality in Sports’ to explore gender bias and the ways it surfaces at different levels of play, from high school athletics to professional sports. 

“It’s very important to me that I use my platform to bring attention to the many issues faced by women in sports and to call for meaningful change. The Secret brand has been answering that very call for years by taking real action to support female athletes,” stated Williams in a release. “Sports changed my life and I feel compelled to continue giving back to ensure a brighter future for women in sports. I am incredibly honored to join forces with Secret and look forward to partnering closely to further the fight for gender equality for all athletes.”

This partnership will include several campaigns featuring Williams and will build upon the brand’s efforts to combating gender inequality. In 2019 alone, Secret stated it contributed more than $1m to support gender equality, including efforts to close the women’s pay gap in soccer and committing to the Girls Leading Girls organization.

Featured by The Drum

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