Gates Foundation Uses Poetry and Spoken Word to Illustrate the Gender Gap

Palette Group artfully brings attention to the 2021 Goalkeepers report

Who runs the world? Girls.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has debuted a 60-second digital ad urging that 2021 be the year of gender equity. It comes prior to the release of the foundation's annual deep dive on the subject.

"Part of the report focused on the impact the pandemic is having on women," says Blessing Omakwu, Goalkeepers lead at the foundation. "For example, according to data from the International Labour Organization, women's employment globally is expected to remain 13 million jobs below the 2019 level—while men's employment is largely expected to recover from pre-pandemic rates."

Created by Palette Group, the Goalkeepers ad features Porsha Olayiwola and Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa using poetry, spoken word—and a backdrop of U.N. staff and philanthropic leaders, including Melinda Gates herself—to illustrate the heavy burden women bear around the globe.

Gates Foundation | Goalkeepers 2021

"In the past year, the world we knew ended. In the past year, the world we knew stayed the same," begins the ad.

"We saw women hold us up. Despite being displaced from the workplace, we saw women look up from teaching, parenting, farming, dreaming and saying: 'We've been the backbone and the frontline.' ... This is the year for equity. For disrupting the idea of empowerment. For redefining power. This is the year women will be asking the questions. And the first one is: 'What will you give?' "

The ad, running on social media and online, is the first work for the Gates Foundation from Palette Group. Creative director Nate Nichols says the foundation "reached out to us to create something imaginative and honest that would bring awareness and action to the foundation's set of global goals."

"The Goalkeepers team wanted to drive home our goal of keeping women's economic recovery at the center of inclusive and innovative solutions in a new and compelling way," says Omakwu. "Poetry and spoken word are powerful mediums to convey important messages in a captivating style. It was also important for us to collaborate with a diverse, women-led creative team—from concept to completion. The end result is a story and visual journey that we hope women from all backgrounds can see themselves represented within."


Palette Group
Steffi Behringer, Executive Producer, Partner of Palette Group 
Jess Thiel, Producer
Nicole LeLacheur, ACD
Starr Nathan, Director
Jadzia Erskine, Cinematographer, *Commercial Debut*
Hanna Sturwold, Senior Editor
Logan Romjue, Sound mixer/Supervisor
Jessie Fox, Behind the scenes photographer
Aleksandra Markovic, Stylist
Nate Nichols, Creative Director
Corri Plunkett, Production Coordinator

Writers, Poets
Porsha Olayiwola
Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa

Talent: Goalkeepers, U.N. staff and philanthropic leaders
Amani Al-Khatahtbeh
Bolanle Williams-Olley and her daughter
Georgie Badiel
Hauwa Liman
Lili Buffett
Tiffany Yu

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