Forbes declared 2014 the year that females ruled social media — a breakout moment for hashtag activism on issues for women and girls.

#Girlrising, #womenshould, #changetheratio and #Leanin all helped send feminism viral, a trend also reflected in pictures. Sales of Getty Images content keyworded “female & empowerment” rose 30% between 2009 and 2014, and the trend of brands using images to break clichés shows no signs of stopping.

Here are five campaigns that uphold the momentum.

This Girl Can

Created by FCB Inferno for Sport England, “This Girl Can” is a new national campaign developed to encourage females of all ages to be more active. Achieving 3 million YouTube views in just 36 hours, its success lies with the use of authentic female models, far away from the usual visual discourse of fitness advertising, where we typically see stylised images of women with perfect abs exercising.  “This Girl Can” is approachable and refreshing, on the consumer’s level — a 30 second advert of hard-hitting motivation, as slogans such as, “I kick balls, deal with it” flash onto the screen. This campaign steps one foot forward in the projecting reality — a magic ingredient in speaking to this demographic.


Created in collaboration with production company Society and director Megan Griffiths, Goldiebox introduces a female action figure that breaks clichés. Opening with the message, “Fashion dolls teach girls to value beauty over brains. One is sold every three seconds,” Society and Griffiths create a catalyst to perfection, beauty and stereotypes traditionally associated with dolls. Instead, in this spot, individuality, strength and gender rule, breaking buck the conveyer belt of convention.

Lego ‘Inspire Imagination and keep building’

Girls and boys aspirations don’t have to be constrained by outdated clichés — girls can be scientists, explorers, or doctors. Playtime can be about be about being a leader rather than a supporter. Lego understands this, and in 2014 they introduced the first female STEM characters, following the release with this ad. This advert takes you on a journey from baby to growing girl, running the gamut of archetypes, from the explorer, to the hero, to the creator.

Synovus Bank ‘Brave’

Created by Fitzgerald & Co for Synovus bank, ‘Brave’ is an advert that follows the journey of one girl growing from child to woman. With the metaphor of bravery tying the story together, it follows a girl from the start of her life climbing out of her cot, to driving her dad’s truck. The heroine of the story uses these key characteristics to succeed in later years, relying on bravery in the boardroom to excel. A positive affirmation that females can be brave and succeed in all spectrums of life. ‘F-Bombs for Feminism’

Unapologetic, full barrelled advertising is coming to the fore, with adverts such as Hello Flo’s ‘The Camp Gyno’, and Gnarly in Pink — but none more so than the advertisement by FCKH8 titled “F-Bombs for Feminism,” which channels empowerment through the voice of young girls. Hate it or love it, the advert gained 2 million hits on YouTube and became a viral talking point.

Discover more images of female empowerment on Getty Images and iStock by Getty Images