As a business, we work year round to level the field. Whenever we can, we give screen space over to causes and people regardless of gender, race, ability, age or orientation. We work closely with the communities we operate in, to give a voice to the under-represented and the unsung.

And on occasions like International Women’s Day, we aim to push the boat out more each year, because every time we do, we are helping to change someone else’s game. We also know that things won’t change fast enough unless we’re all in it together.

Today, we spotlight women across the UK with a powerful celebration of diverse thought and achievement, presented in collaboration with the educational charity, The Female Lead.

Curated by managing director of Ocean Labs, Catherine Morgan and The Female Lead founder Edwina Dunn, nine portraits of formidable women including the actor Jodie Whittaker; Karen Blackett OBE, the restaurateur Asma Khan; the writer and activist Katie Piper; and social justice campaigner Gina Miller are appearing across 150 Ocean screens – including Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London – including Piccadilly Lights, courtesy of Landsec.

Each portrait is accompanied by a quote from each woman and the hashtag #whenshesintheroom, a reference to the latest book by The Female Lead founder Edwina Dunn, OBE. The book draws on the data scientist’s pioneering work to offer alternative role models to young girls and inspire the next generation of female leaders, dovetailing this mission with data-driven analytics to present solutions to inequality.

It’s a powerful call to action for anyone who wants to live in a more equitable world.


“Two ears, one mouth” – Karen Blackett OBE

Karen was one of the contributors to our first ever International Women’s Day event, a half day session which drew together advocates from across the creative, advertising and marketing industries to explore how we can collectively do more to lift each other up.

Hosted by Ocean UK marketing director Marie Le Hur and a team of Ocean colleagues, the impressive line-up – virtual and in the room – included Karen Blackett; Candice Mayer-Gillet, MD of Westfield Rise, Europe; Melissa Bethall who sits on the Ocean board and is a senior advisor to Atairos; Nicky Kemp, editorial director of Creativebrief; Sharon Lloyd Barnes, commercial director and inclusion lead at the Advertising Association; Rhonda Alexander, founder of The Maven Group and The Female Lead ambassador; Crystal Nyarko representing Media For All (MEFA); Mel Lalou, head of Westfield Rise, UK; Emma Saddleton, global strategy director at Carat; and Matt Eagleton, head of investment at Dentsu X.

Their sessions covered the work to inspire women with alternative role models; the importance of inclusivity in the workplace; how women struggling with self doubt can banish imposter syndrome and start self promoting worry-free; and how women can rediscover their voices and their confidence by adopting Nicky Kemp’s PACE model (Presence, Action, Consistency, Emotion) to stem the female talent drain.

Our International Women’s Day celebration concluded with an honest and open panel discussion which dispelled some of the myths holding women back, considered how we can best tackle bias and revealed what being a male ally really means.

Look out for a wider write up by Georgie Moreton which is due to appear in Creativebrief shortly, but for now, here are some of the memorable one liners:

· ‘Don’t be a passive ally’ – Matt Eagle

· ‘Decide what it is you stand for, and stand for it 100% of the time’ – Clayton Christensen, via Nicky Kemp

· ‘Find your co-pilot’ – Karen Blackett

· ‘It is no one else’s job to drive your career forward’ – Sarah Ellis, co-founder of Amazing If, via Nicky Kemp

· ‘Isn’t it interesting how you can fool so many bright people?’ – Sharon Lloyd-Barnes, as part of an exercise in which you ask a colleague, manager, friend and then family member for a positive piece of feedback to help manage your self-doubt

· An answer that resonated when she asked years ago, why a role wasn’t offered to her: ‘Because you never asked’ – Candice Mayer-Gillet


Working it out together

Never underestimate the power of the pelvic floor. This is a sound piece of advice from femfit®, who are also marking International Women’s Day through OOH – this time with a special workout invitation at Westfield London. The campaign uses Ocean Labs technology to trigger copy, encouraging women to “squeeze” when they are within the vicinity of the large format Eat Street screen.

If you’re out and about in West London, pop over to see it between 12noon and 2pm today. Alternatively, you’ll find a cheeky teaser at the bottom of this article.



Creative production manager for The Female Lead OOH campaign: Paddy Spiers.

Femfit: campaign developed by Special Group and Biotech For Junofem femfit®, working with Polly Palframan from Ocean Labs.

The Female Lead for International Women's Day - Piccadilly Lights, London
The Female Lead for International Women's Day - Printworks, Manchester
The Female Lead for International Women's Day - Canary Wharf, London
The Female Lead for International Women's Day - Westfield Stratford City
The Female Lead for International Women's Day - Glasgow
Ocean Outdoor for International Women's Day
Our first International Women's Day event
Our first International Women's Day event
Our first International Women's Day event
Our first International Women's Day event
Femfit and Special London's International Women's Day campaign, Westfield London

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