Self-defence TikTok dance from UN Women aims for empowerment

Latest campaign coincides with International Day of the Girl and employs social media marketing to build momentum

Teaching women basic self-defence moves has been put front and centre in a new TikTok social dance crafted as part of UN Women Australia’s #EmpowerMoves campaign.

The campaign coincides with celebrations of the International Day of the Girl today and encourages women to voice their support for a strong and equal future by filming and posting their own dance sequence on TikTok. The UN Women campaign features music from Australian singer-songwriter, Wafia, choreography by Karla Mura, and is directed by She Fights Back. It’s been created by The Monkeys, part of the Accenture Interactive group.  

Other partners involved in bringing the program of work to fruition include TikTok, UM and Edelman, while media spots have been donated across Seven Network, Nine Network, Network 10, Mamamia, Google, Nova Entertainment, Southern Cross Austereo and oOh!media.

In a week, UN Women said the campaign had gained the attention of celebrities and people globally. The moves within the dance routine includes basic self-defence actions such as block, roll under and resist, and the charity is encouraging women to personalise the dance and join the movement on social channels and TikTok.  

The latest #EmpowerMoves effort follows in the footsteps of UN Women’s campaign, ‘When will she be right?’, which launched earlier this year in time for International Women’s Day with the aim of driving momentum forward on progressing gender equality.

“The challenges girls face are unrelenting, some we could have never imagined, but they are resilient and deserve to celebrate their strength,” UN Women Australia CEO, Simone Clarke commented. “When the world is safe and equal for girls – we will dance for joy. Until then, girls can dance to be fierce, dance to be powerful, and dance to show their voice for the equality they deserve.”

International Day of the Girl was founded by the United Nations in 2011 to be observed every year on 11 October. The initiative focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights.

"#EmpowerMoves invites girls to have some fun and create a movement and conversation about gender equality," said UN Women Australia advisor, Sunita Gloster. "It’s their language and their message, on a platform they live on. An equal future needs the voices of our girls and young women to be heard and heralded now. We have seen how potent this generation is at driving change."

The Monkey chief creative officer, Tara Ford, said #EmpowerMoves was designed to be both uplifting and thought provoking.

“While the combination of dance and self-defence is by no means a solution to the wider problem, it’s the beginning of an important cultural conversation for girls,” he said. “A positive step towards not only personal confidence, but a greater awareness of the larger societal issue many girls and women face every day.”

UN Women Australia is a partner and registered charity sitting under UN Women, which was established in 2010.

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