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'Stand Up' to street harassment, says L'Oréal Paris

The brand has launched an international programme in India in partnership with NGO Breakthrough.

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NEW DELHI: On the occasion of United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, L’Oréal Paris has launched its international bystander intervention training programme - Stand Up - in India.  

As per an ActionAid Survey of 2016, 79 per cent of women living in Indian cities have been subjected to harassment or violence in public. Even the national capital and the financial capital of the country are not able to provide a completely safe environment for their female residents, highlights a 2019-report by Praja Foundation, stating that 50 per cent of people in Delhi and 21 per cent in Mumbai felt that women were not safe in the respective cities. 

These are just a few numbers but very clearly indicate how massive the issue of street harassment in India is. 

Launching the campaign and an associated website in India via a virtual press conference, L’Oréal Paris general manager India Pau Gruart stated that the issue of women safety is very close to LÓréal’s brand ethos.

“As a brand, we have always stood up for women empowerment but we always want to take one step further and make a concrete difference. This initiative deepens our sense of purpose and it is in total consistency with our brand essence,” he added.

The brand has partnered with NGO Breakthrough to deliver on-ground training and sensitise the community towards the problem of harassment in public spaces and make them safer for people across genders. They are aiming to train 1 million people in India in the skill of upstanding using the 5Ds defined by NGO Hollaback!: Direct, Delegate, Document, Distract, Delay. 

Breakthrough India president and CEO Sohini Bhattacharya noted, “Breakthrough has been working for over 20 years to make violence and discrimination against women unacceptable. We are very proud to partner with L’Oréal Paris in empowering young people to take action, for themselves, and for others, now and in the future. Bystanders are often not equipped to tackle street harassment and feel helpless during such situations. Based on the expert-approved 5D’s methodology, Stand Up makes a clarion call to citizens to take action against street harassment, by encouraging them to undertake a simple and effective training program, that not only supports victims but also enables bystanders to safely intervene. Stand Up will enable women to reclaim public spaces.” 

Brand ambassador Aditi Rao Hydari added that she finds this approach more empowering than physically harming the preparator and feels that this will sensitise the community more towards cases of harassment in public spaces. 

The brand with the support from Breakthrough is aiming to amplify the cause across the country, even to the remotest corners. It is already planning influencer activities and campus programmes to make the training more accessible. 

Gruart shared, “At the heart of Stand Up, which is our most important global cause as a brand, is the training programme. We are going to direct all our marketing activities towards the training. For instance, we could have a classic tool of digital media; all inputs there will be one click away from the online training. We are also seeking influencer support and brand ambassador support to amplify it.”

Bhattacharya continued, “We are willing to make the youth of the country the true crusaders for this cause. We will be enrolling people for fellowship programmes and training them in 5Ds and how they can teach further. They then will act as our ambassadors.”

Gruart also noted they are looking for bigger partnerships across the country that might start coming into shape in 2021. 

L’Oréal Paris has a wide portfolio of products for the Indian market including makeup, skin-care, hair colour, hair care and men's products. In 2020, the brand roped in actor Aditi Rao Hydari, former cricketer Mithali Raj and popular TV personality Shakti Mohan as its brand endorsers for the Indian market. It has launched several campaigns with these brand endorsers. L’Oréal Paris closely works with salons and hair-dressers who act as the last mile influencers for the brand.

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