13 November 2019:
Australian women wish for equality this Christmas, as rigid gender stereotypes prevail over the festive period

New research from The Body Shop Australia reveals over half of the nation (55%) and 59% of women think gender equality would be the best gift for Christmas this year, with almost 80% of both men and women agreeing we still have a way to go to achieve equality around the world.

Despite Aussies rallying for change throughout the year, from climate strikes to #MeToo, refugee support to marriage equality, social issues tend to drop off the radar during silly season, with just 16% of Aussies thinking about topics such as gender equality (7%), climate change (10%) and world peace (7%) and the majority (89%) ‘taking a break’ from these issues at Christmas. 

Research reveals the majority of Aussies (87%) agree outdated stereotypes resurface during the holidays, with most of us agreeing it will be women doing the Christmas chores this year, such as cooking (68%), buying gifts (60%), and cleaning (49%), with men more likely to be found in front of the TV watching sport (44%).

Shannon Chrisp, Director of Marketing & Corporate Responsibility at The Body Shop Australia highlights: “Australians definitely agree Christmas is a time for bringing people together, but research also shows us that outdated stereotypes rear their head over the holidays. As a brand that champions fairness and equality, The Body Shop hopes to inspire both men and women to dream big and fight gender norms, both during the festive season and beyond.”

Gender imbalance is not just restricted to the home, as well-loved Christmas traditions shine a light on the representation of women, with the most recognised characters* being men, from Santa Claus (67%) to Snowmen (31%). Out of the female icons, Mrs Claus ranked way behind Santa in popularity (22%), followed by Mariah Carey (13%). What’s more, only one in three Aussies (35%) believe there is a significant female presence pulling Santa’s sleigh, with 38% believing his reindeers are mostly male (despite it being proven that females power Santa’s delivery each year!). 

This year, to empower girls and women around the country and get equality back on the holiday agenda,  The Body Shop Australia will be introducing the real Mrs Claus - not a frumpy housewife or sex symbol as she’s often portrayed, but a strong, smart, empowered woman - an equal partner in the North Pole operation. This Christmas, The Body Shop Australia brings you three fierce Mrs Claus’– Em Rusciano, Flex Mami and Ali Brigginshaw – some of Australia's most fearless and inspiring women.

Aussies will have the chance to take an empowering Christmas photo with Mrs Claus, with all proceeds donated to Plan International Australia's 2020 Youth Activist Series, a 12-month training and leadership program to launch the dreams of Australia's future change-makers. 

Em Rusciano says: “Santa gets all the glory, while Mrs Claus gets made to look like a frumpy housewife. But no more. Santa and Mrs Claus are a power couple. They are Jay-Z and Beyonce. They are Barack and Michelle Obama. Mrs Claus is a sassy businesswoman, and it’s time she got the recognition she deserves." 

This year, The Body Shop Australia will flip the traditional Santa photo on its head, with Aussies able to snap a Christmas photo and share their dreams with the three Mrs Claus’ across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. 

Flex Mami adds: “Culturally as a second generation immigrant, I’ve always celebrated Christmas in a way that differs from the Aussie norm. Less about Santa and more about celebration (and Mum spending more hours in the kitchen and organising the festivities than sleeping — that’s universal). When I grew up and had a chance to unpack it more, you see there’s an underlying imbalance going on. Would Christmas as a concept pass the Bechdel test? Probably not! Mrs Claus gives us the chance to do things a little different, and encourage a greater chat on equality."

Ali Brigginshaw says: “I’m honoured to be working with The Body Shop alongside Em and Flex Mami to celebrate the women of Australia and inspire the next generation to dream big – and remember, ‘don’t put equality on holiday’!”
 
Susanne Legena, CEO of Plan International Australia, said The Body Shop Australia's support will ensure Australia's emerging young feminist superstars will have every opportunity to advocate for equality, by providing a group of incredible young people with training and skills to make a big difference. 

"We have seen the impact just one young woman can have if she's given support to succeed in incredible young trail-blazers Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai,” Ms Legena said. “The Youth Activist Series nurtures passion and talent and sets young women up with the skills and confidence to make a real impact on the issues that matter most. 

"This holiday season, our youth activists certainly won't set aside their passion for gender equality and neither will we. We hope that Australians will wholeheartedly get behind Mrs Claus as a powerful figure for equality and take this rare opportunity to get a fantastically unique Christmas photo that will be one for the Pool Room."

The Mrs Claus photo activation costs $10, with all proceeds going to Plan International Australia, the charity for girls' equality. and will take place in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from the 29 November to the 1 December at select The Body Shop stores. For more information and to book your photo visit www.thebodyshop.com.au 

Media Contact: 
One Green Bean 
thebodyshopau@onegreenbean.com 

About the research 
YouGov conducted the study online among a representative sample of 1,032 Australians aged 18-69 years in October 2019.

*These Christmas characters exclude religious figures. 

About The Body Shop
Founded in 1976 in Brighton, England, by Dame Anita Roddick, The Body Shop is a global beauty brand and a certified B Corp™. The Body Shop seeks to make a positive difference in the world by offering high-quality, naturally-inspired skincare, body care, haircare and make-up produced ethically and sustainably. Having pioneered the philosophy that business can be a force for good, this ethos is still the brand’s driving force. The Body Shop operates around 3,000 retail locations in more than 70 countries. Along with Aesop and Natura, The Body Shop is part of Natura &Co, a global, multi-channel, multi-brand cosmetics group that is committed to generating positive economic, social and environmental impact.

About The Body Shop Mrs Claus photo activation 
Mrs Claus photo activation costs $10 for a 5 minute slot and can be booked online or on-site, with all proceeds going to Plan International Australia. The activation will run in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from 29 November to the 1 December from 11am – 2pm at select The Body Shop stores. To register and for more information visit www.thebodyshop.com.au

About Plan International Australia 
Plan International Australia is the charity for girls’ equality. We tackle the root causes of poverty, support communities through crisis, campaign for gender equality, and help governments do what’s right for children and particularly for girls. We believe a better world is possible. An equal world; a world where all children can live happy and healthy lives, and where girls can take their rightful place as equals. This is the world you are helping us create. A better now for her. A better future for everyone.

Location addresses:
Sydney QVB Shopping Centre 
455 George Street 
Sydney, 2000
Lower Ground Floor 
 
Brisbane Westfield Chermside
Gympie Road
Brisbane, 4032  
Level 1
 
Melbourne Bourke Street 
271 Bourke Street
Centrepoint Arcade
Melbourne, 3000