Greenply undertakes an unconventional drive to promote women empowerment

Women often tend to underestimate what they can or cannot do. Coinciding with Women’s Day this year, Greenply Industries Ltd conducted a social experiment to challenge set perceptions about what women can and can’t. 

The objective of the campaign was to create conversations around a purposeful, real and inspiring topic that also motivates men and women to act differently when it comes to issues pertaining to women. 

As part of the campaign, women were invited to an art gallery, where various objects were displayed inside a wardrobe. They were asked a simple question: Which of the things they saw were made by women. As each of the women inspected the objects, all guesses gravitated towards the objects like clothes, food, etc. Not one participant thought to assign the art of furniture making to a woman’s hands. 

The big surprise then played out on a projection – a video showing the building of an actual wardrobe by India’s first all-women carpentry team from Archana Women’s Centre, right from the first steps to the final product. Shortly after, the women carpenters themselves emerged and were introduced to the participants. 

The brief shared with the agency was simple – How can Greenply bring about a small, but actionable change (instead of just a philosophical one) in the journey towards ensuring ‘empowerment’ and ‘equal opportunities’ for women in India. 

Elaborating on the genesis of the initiative to train women in carpentry, Sanidhya Mittal, Executive Director, Greenply Industries Limited, told Adgully, “Our success in the plywood industry hasn’t alone been a product of our efforts. We have always had the support of our partners, influencers and fabricators playing an active role. We work with over 550 women architects and interior designers. However, when we looked at the fabricator community, we observed that the carpentry sector is extraordinarily male-dominated. As an organisation, we attempt to find ways to empower and include women workforce in our ecosystem, therefore this Women’s Day we thought why not the carpentry sector. And this also reinstates the aim of our CSR activities, wherein we employ our strengths to support our communities and enhance the way they live, learn and work.” 

He further said that this initiative is just a start to seed in the thought that there is no task that a woman can’t do. “#StopSayingWomenCant initiative is a step towards encouraging women to come forward and take this up as a profession,” he added. 

Along with the help of Greenply’s communication agency, Ogilvy, the company did an in-depth research and in such an unorganised sector, they came upon this organisation providing skill training and employment opportunities – Archana Women’s Centre, founded by Sister Thresiamma Mathew in Kottayam, Kerala, back in 2004. 

#StopSayingWomenCant initiative is a step towards encouraging women to come forward and take up carpentry as a profession. Greenply intends to collaborate further with Archana Women’s Centre and help more women harness their carpentry skills and provide vocational training to them. 

When asked how this initiative will create brand salience for Greenply, Mittal replied, “When companies build brands, it’s also their moral responsibility to ensure upliftment of their stakeholders and communities. We, at Greenply, through this initiative seek to remove gender discrimination at the workplace and create equality for women in all fields.” 

It is a community-giving outreach programme by Greenply, wherein the initiative is to make difference to the life of women in India, belonging to various strata of the society.

Mittal informed that Greenply is collaborating with Archana Women’s Centre to identify pockets across India where they will provide women who are interested to learn this non-conventional skill of carpentry with technical know-how and skill training to equip them to take up carpentry as a profession. “Our investment is the intent to support these women to become economically independent, coupled with our resource that is being spent to make this initiative sustained and successful,” he added. 

Agency Speak 

Speaking on the concept behind Greenply’s #stopsayingwomencant campaign, Sukesh Nayak, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy India, commented, “Voting rights. Equal pay. Safe space. These are some of the major talking points surrounding the role of women in India, in recent times. But has anyone stopped to think how, even in this day and age, women could be just as guilty of an entrenched gender-bias as men? Greenply, in association with Archana Women’s Center, drives home this idea with a simple experiment. They convey one simple message: there’s no job that a man can do which a woman can’t.” 

He added, “Greenply is the primary manufacturer of plywood in India. With this experiment, they advance a step towards becoming India’s first ever inclusive brand of plywood that strives to make the nation a better place. With this activation, Greenply will become the brand of choice among female consumers.” 

When asked how the agency proposes to keep the brand communication engaging for a product like plywood, Nayak replied, “Every brand communication – no matter what the product is – can stay fresh and relevant for many years, provided the communication tells a human story. Only by making the product an inextricable part of daily life can a story be woven around it. Such a story is closer to us; hence they stick.” 


Campaign Credits: 

Client: Greenply

Creative Agency: Ogilvy India

Director (of the film): Anandi Ghose

Production House: O Fish Entertainment

DOP: Ishaan Ghose


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