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    Johnnie Walker drafts Lilly Singh to fight for women’s leadership

    • Johnnie Walker has partnered with comedian Lilly Singh to promote efforts to increase gender equality in leadership positions, per a press release. The campaign is timed to Women’s Equality Day today (Aug. 26). 

    • The tie-up is the latest in the blend Scotch whisky’s “First Strides” initiative that aims to support women in multiple aspects of society, including public office, entrepreneurship and athletics, among others.

    • Singh wrote and produced original content to raise awareness around the “First Strides” program and highlight the unique challenges faced by women as they climb the leadership ladder.

    Johnnie Walker is partnering with women across multiple industries to raise its profile among female drinkers, a steadily growing sector of the whiskey category. The Diageo marketer’s partnership with Singh is one of many initiatives planned for “First Strides,” which supports groups such as IFundWomen and She Should Run.

    In a new video, Singh explains disparities for women in the public and private sectors, stating that the “future of women’s equality doesn’t exactly seem to be in the hands of women.” The YouTube creator and former late-night host cites data about the comparatively low number of women in elected office and business leadership positions, peppering the serious topic with light-hearted humor.

    While the ad doesn’t dig into political issues outside of gender disparity, it follows the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade, which has put women’s rights into the national spotlight. The ruling has led to a surge of women registering to vote ahead of the midterms. 

    The content created with Singh comes just a few months after the Scotch brand tapped musicians Brittany Howard and Tia P. to produce the official anthem for the Angel City Football Club. The song, “Running with the Angels,” is the first original anthem written for a U.S. women’s professional sport team.

    “Johnnie Walker is committed to celebrating and enabling bold first strides that open the door for seconds and thirds to follow,” said Sophie Kelly, senior vice president of whiskies at Diageo North America, in a press release. “We are proud to support the meaningful work of partners IFundWomen, She Should Run, Black Girl Ventures and the ERA Coalition, among others, and we hope to help them achieve their goals in creating positive change.”

    With the latest leg of “First Strides,” Johnnie Walker reaffirmed its goal to help IFundWomen reach $1 million in grants for women-owned businesses by 2030. The brand’s work with She Should Run aims to inspire 250,000 women to take the first steps toward public leadership in the same timeframe. 

    “First Strides” debuted earlier this year and was born out of a “First Women” campaign that launched at the end of 2020. The previous effort also worked with IFundWomen to fund female entrepreneurs.

    Johnnie Walker has placed a stronger focus on female empowerment in its advertising in recent years. In 2018, the distiller released limited-edition Black Label products featuring “Jane Walker,” a female iteration of the company’s iconic striding man logo. It was blended by Johnnie Walker’s first female blend master Emma Walker (no relation) and sourced spirits from Cardhu, also owned by Diageo, which flourished under the oversight of Elizabeth Cumming in the late 1800s.

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