Category A12. Not-for-profit / Charity / Government
Idea Creation HASAN & PARTNERS Helsinki, FINLAND
Production HASAN & PARTNERS Helsinki, FINLAND
Production 2 INTO DIGITAL Helsinki, FINLAND
Production 3 B-REEL Stockholm, SWEDEN
Name Company Position
Tobias Wacker hasan & partners Oy Creative director
Katariina Harteela hasan & partners Oy Creative
Marc Stevenson hasan & partners Oy Executive producer
Joseph Bayne hasan & partners Oy Design director
Dean Clatworthy hasan & partners Oy Developer
Luca Rossi hasan & partners Oy Web designer
Sonya Isupova hasan & partners Oy Graphic designer
Mika Onnela hasan & partners Oy Editor/ animator
Laura Andersson hasan & partners Oy Junior creative
Riikka Rechardt hasan & partners Oy Junior creative
Antti Rasi Into-Digital CEO
Mikko Hytönen Into-Digital Head developer
Freshteh Piltan B-reel Director
Lia Eliasson B-Reel Producer
Shoot Hayley Shoot Hayley Photographer
Eva Anttila Plan International Finland Director of Fundraising, Marketing & Loyalty
Mika Välitalo Plan International Finland Senior Specialist - Technology, Innovation and Transparency
Nora Lindström Plan International Finland Global Coordinator for digital development
Niina Mikolanniemi Plan International Finland Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager
Kirsi Mettälä Plan International Finland Director, Development
Inka Kovanen Plan International Finland Press officer
Elin Wallberg Samsung Electronics Nordic AB Corporate Citizenship & Partnerships Manager
Pia Fri hasan & partners Oy Account manager
Sarah Sheehan The Honey Partnership Project Director
Harriet Butterfield The Honey Partnership PR Manager
Luke Bristow The Honey Partnership Client Director
Guy Peters The Honey Partnership Community Manager
Cecilia Ho The Honey Partnership PR Executive
Toni Perez OSG Communications Managing Director

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Gender-biased talk is a global problem – and Plan International is a global organization. Yet, money is scarce and behaviour change is difficult to achieve. That’s why PR played a vital role in making people re-think their behaviour, and the only way to reach a global and diverse audience.


Plan International is a humanitarian organisation that works for girls’ rights. They’ve been more known for their work in developing countries, but they work globally for lasting impact on norms, attitudes and behaviours towards girls. We needed to make people see Plan as a global, modern organisation that advances equality for girls everywhere. Research shows that we talk differently to children depending on their gender. We talk to boys about their abilities, skills and potential and to girls about their bodies and feelings. Little by little, this starts to influence how they see themselves. A study shows that by the age of six, girls are more likely to think that boys are the smarter gender; many girls believe that men will do better in fields associated with brilliance – such as physics and mathematics.

Describe the creative idea

Sheboard is a virtual keyboard for boosting girls’ confidence. With predictive text input, it suggests gender-neutral language. It helps everyone reflect on – and possibly change – the ways we talk to and about girls. Sheboard also reminds girls about the abilities they have that people don’t always think to mention. The amount of communication that happens on our mobiles keeps growing. That’s why the keyboard is an ideal place for tapping into people’s language. But the idea is bigger than that; typing messages is something everyone can relate to, and just hearing about the keyboard makes people think how they choose their words when talking with or about girls.

Describe the strategy

As our goal is to change behavior – how people talk to and about girls and women, we’d needed people to rethink their own behavior, and their own use of language – that’s why we created something everyone is using everyday: Sheboard. The target audience are all of us: Parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, sons and daughters. We wanted to make people see that Plan International does not only work in developing countries, but also advances equality for girls globally. Sheboard is relevant in any country, any language – and it also gained media attention all over the world, from rather equal ones to those where girls’ rights are neglected. It was predictable Sheboard would raise also negative feelings – as equality discussions often do. That’s why we had a strong focus on the scientific side; the gender-biased language and its effects are a proven fact.

Describe the execution

We collected words for the keyboard from children and campaign spokespeople: how should girls be described? Based on these words and research regarding gender-biased language, we created a dictionary of more than 2 500 words. It was widened by creating algorithms from female-empowering blogs and publications.The app was then created– in a few months’ time – and made available in Google Play. We launched Sheboard in Slush, world’s leading startup event. On social media, we promoted it with emotional spots showing why it’s needed – directed by an up-and-coming female talent. We also used the spokespeople to share the cause via social media and blogs. All this, we did with a strong focus on PR. August 2018, Sheboard was published in Finnish. In Finland, Plan also created educational packages related to the keyboard; volunteers keep workshops about gender-neutrality in schools, with help of Sheboard.

List the results

Sheboard got media attention all over the world, both in advanced, relatively equal countries and in those where girls’ rights are neglected; from Finland to Turkey, from Australia to India. The editorial reach was over 712 Million. Sheboard was covered e.g. by UK national press (Evening Standard), international business press (Business Insider), top tier tech press (the Next Web); noted by educational and sexual health related communities; and chosen as innovation of the day by Trendwatching. Social publisher NowThis created a video about Sheboard which alone got hundreds of shares and comments. Many of the journalists tested the app and dug deep into the research. “Sheboard raises an interesting question: if we change our use of language regarding young girls into one that emphasizes strength and capacity, will it change the way they think about themselves?” wrote the Next Web. But it’s not enough we made people read about it. The change starts from ourselves – we needed to make everyone reflect their own language and possibly change how they speak. And we did; a lot of people joined the discussion and told their own experiences and thoughts about Sheboard and gender-neutral language. For and against; some loved it, some declared it’s dangerous. A dad from Newport tweeted: “Just reading about #sheboard virtual keyboard has made me rethink how I talk to my daughter - even if she is just 3 months old”.