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Pre­vi­ous ju­ries for the Glass Lion have spo­ken about this be­ing the hard­est cat­e­gory to judge and, within 15 min­utes, I un­der­stood why. The range of work was vast, span­ning ev­ery­thing from doc­u­men­tary films to art in­stal­la­tions to chil­dren’s work­books and be­yond.

Com­par­ing such a di­verse body of work felt like an im­pos­si­ble task and choos­ing a favourite in a cat­e­gory where the work is deeply emo­tive was tough.

It was very clear that this was a good year for Glass. There was lit­tle work that felt like to­kenism. When you re­view the work as a col­lec­tive, it’s sur­pris­ingly easy to see au­then­tic­ity and com­mit­ment to a cause and equally easy to spot “wrap­ping pa­per”. Such work got very short shrift in­deed.

One dis­ap­point­ment was the lack of work that ad­dressed the is­sue of men be­ing part of the so­lu­tion. It was a source of ir­ri­ta­tion for ev­ery ju­ror that a mere hand­ful of en­tries saw it as men’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to be ac­count­able for their own ac­tions. And the stats we saw around trans­gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion, fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and rape, for ex­am­ple, made for de­press­ing read­ing. It is clear that we have a long, long way to go be­fore we are even close to a so­lu­tion to many of these prob­lems.

Choos­ing our win­ners was tough, but “Fearless Girl” was the right choice. A rare in­stance when mar­ket­ing tran­scends our in­dus­try and be­comes a cul­tural phe­nom­e­non that will likely out­live ev­ery reader of this col­umn – “Fearless Girl” de­serves the near-univer­sal recog­ni­tion it has gained.

Over­all, it was a great year with some great work tack­ling great causes. Is the prob­lem solved? Not even close. But do I feel more pos­i­tive that we’re on the way? Based on this body of work – hell, yes. Bravo to the brands and or­gan­i­sa­tions that are tak­ing a stand. You are all my he­roes.

Grand Prix: State Street Global Ad­vi­sors ‘Fearless Girl’ by Mccann New York

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