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Womens Equality Party: closing the gender pay gap with the 'Vagina Purse'

Womens Equality Party: closing the gender pay gap with the 'Vagina Purse'

Now Advertising won the Traditional: 48 or 96 Sheet Poster and Best Craft: Use of Photography awards at The Drum Creative Out Of Home Awards 2017, for its work with the Women's Equality Party. Here the agency discusses how it created the winning entry.

Executive Summary

The Women’s Equality Party is a brand new political party, created to combat the horrible truth that, after more than a century since women got the vote, this country is still woefully unequal. Equality for women isn't a women's issue. When women fulfil their potential, everyone benefits. Equality means better politics, a more vibrant economy, a workforce that draws on the talents of the whole population and a society at ease with itself.

This year saw further decentralisation of Government power, as various regions voted for their ‘Metro Mayor’. These mayors will receive a significant investment from the government and gain some power over education and skills, housing and planning, and transport.


Our brief was to create awareness for the Women’s Equality Party candidate running for Liverpool Metro Mayor. Using the powerful statistic that £23.7bn could be added to the North-West Economy annually if women could work the hours they wanted to, at the same rate of pay as men, the solution was an image of a purse that resembled a vagina.


The Women’s Equality Party (WEP) decided to put forward a candidate for the Liverpool region. She was born and bred in Liverpool and now works in the male-dominated manufacturing industry. She ran against four white men from four established political parties. Communication needed to show people that a vote for the WEP candidate would be their opportunity to not only support gender equality, but to change the dynamics of the Northern Powerhouse for the better.

Our overall strategy for WEP is that ‘equality is better for everyone’, so we needed to ensure that people understood that this was a party both men and women could support. A secondary challenge was to drive more national awareness for WEP and their policies.


We were working with a shocking statistic that £23.7bn per year could be added to the North-West Economy if women could work the hours they wanted to, at the same rate of pay as men. WEP’s manifesto was that, in order to rectify this, women needed support in the region, to have options in how they work, access childcare, and get employment opportunities.

With limited budgets to work with, both in production and media terms, we needed something that would catch people’s attention and create debate in the media and on social channels to amplify the message.


The solution was a visually arresting image of a purse that resembled female genitalia with a stark headline ‘Women are being short-changed by £13.7bn’ and support copy of ‘Close the gender pay gap in Liverpool. Vote Tabitha Morton.’

Despite only running on a handful of sites in Liverpool, the execution received disproportionate recognition and awareness across the whole country. It was featured across all the ad industry publications and websites; The Independent ran a prominent online article which had 1,000 direct shares, 110 comments (many of them angry and abusive, reflecting the challenges WEP are facing) and the content was reused on Yahoo Style. We saw Google searches for the Women’s Equality Party show a huge surge as it went live in April in the run up to the 4 May Election.

On Twitter, there were tens of thousands of interactions across various WEP, industry and individual tweets and retweets/likes. Tabitha received 1.5% of the vote, with 4,287 votes.

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