Women's group and JWT expose the 'career line'

An International Women's Day campaign in Hong Kong attacked use of the Cantonese phrase 'career line' to refer to a woman's cleavage.

In Cantonese, the phrase "career line" (事業線) refers to a woman's cleavage. The term seems to be an accepted form of casual sexism in polite society; 62 percent of male and female respondents recently polled by Edelman Intelligence said that the term was not derogatory or harmful.

That's just not right. So the Women's Foundation of Hong Kong set out to stop people speaking about women's careers in the same breath as their bodies, through the #MyRealCareerLine campaign with J Walter Thompson Hong Kong.

The campaign began with a stunt—a fictitious plastic surgery clinic called Career Line, with a pop-up booth outside Hong Kong University and a spoof website—before the foundation announced on International Women's Day that it was all fake and switched the website

Accomplished women, such as Olympic swimmer Stephanie Au, World snooker champion On-yee Ng, and Freshfields partner and China chairperson Teresa Ko are fronting the campaign, sharing the stories of their real "career line"—their path to success.

The campaign was inspired by findings from JWT's Female Tribes research, which showed that 40 percent of Hong Kong women felt talked down to at work and 53 percent said they did not have the same opportunities as men.

The poster for the campaign, a stylised line representing cleavage, is available for download on the campaign site, which invites members of the public and organisations to join in the campaign by ripping up the proverbial career line.

Campaign Asia Pacfic comments: Overall this is a commendable effort by the foundation and JWT Hong Kong. As language informs thought, it's important to stem the use of what many accept as a "harmless joke", because the thought behind it can do real harm.

The spoof plastic surgery clinic, however, rubbed us the wrong way. Although we understand the intent to draw attention by offending, it may indirectly cast a stigma on women who choose to undergo breast enhancement surgery—for whatever reasons.

Campaign Jobs

Follow us

Top news, insights and analysis every weekday

Sign up for Campaign Bulletins

Related Articles

Just Published

Premium
Edelman Japan hires J Walter Thompson veteran as brand director
Premium
4 hours ago

Edelman Japan hires J Walter Thompson veteran as ...

Amy Naoko Morita wants a new perspective after more than 20 years in advertising.

Premium
Sina Weibo hit with video-streaming ban from China regulators
Premium
7 hours ago

Sina Weibo hit with video-streaming ban from China ...

Services shut down for broadcasting negative commentary on political and social news.

Premium
Length, buffers and control: the rights and wrongs of mobile video ads
Premium
7 hours ago

Length, buffers and control: the rights and wrongs ...

AOL’s Alex Khan suggests mobile video advertising should be bigger than it is. A recent report highlights the need to improve the experience for viewers and provides useful pointers for ad buyers and creatives.

Premium
Direct from Cannes: Reporter's notebook from the festival
Premium
7 hours ago

Direct from Cannes: Reporter's notebook from the ...

Videos, quick takes, and links to full coverage by our editors on the Riviera.