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The New Language of Femininity - MENA region's 15 Female Tribes

12 December, 2016

Female Tribes

BEIRUT — There’s an entirely new language around femininity that successful marketers will be using as a result of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence MEA’s proprietary women’s insight study, Female Tribes™ in the Middle East and North Africa region. The study unveils an empowered Middle Eastern female audience, that is totally changing the conversation about what it means to be a woman in these markets.  With unprecedented detail the research kills long held stereotypes, and for the first time ever opens up an array of multi-faceted characteristics that define 15 new attitudinal profiles for women, or Female Tribes™.

Collectively, the statistics and insights define the surprisingly untapped value women bring to the economy as wealth creators, leaders, influencers and protectors - in other words, their Female Capital.  Key insight statistics that speak volumes include :-
  • 73% believe they are more ambitious than their spouses or significant others
  • 77% feel that women should have a louder voice when it comes to cultural influence
  • 84% think femininity is a strength not a weakness
  • 79% think that starting or running their own business is important in their lives right now
  • 82% would like to see more and hear more about women in science and engineering
  • 65% are excited about the prospects of a female president or head of government in their country
Meet four of the 15 Tribes writing this new language of femininity, demonstrating how Arab women are walking the talk and paving the way for real progress :-

Super Athlete : A pioneering tier of female super athletes challenging performance standards, and trailblazing for Arab women in sport. Talking about being fit as opposed to being thin, they are influencing a new narrative which will have profound social impact as an outlet for reform.

Modest Matriarchs :
Older Arab women who have found their calling beyond the confines of the home.  Whilst family remains at the heart of their purpose these once powerless and voiceless women are marrying passion with goodwill and determination, to take on a more assertive role in their societies.

Donna Drapers :
In the Middle East’s male dominated work places, women are increasingly asserting their influence as boardroom magnates, and even conquering the world of startups, with ‘feminine’ qualities, skills and values that are powering businesses forward.

Arab Alphas : Young, educated and fearless, Alphas are breaking social and cultural barriers and pioneering landscapes once only a privilege of Arab men, changing the conversation around femininity and “un-tabooing” womanhood.

“The world, its economy and the cradles of business can no longer afford to neglect the needs of Arab women – siphoning them off into one statistical column rather than recognizing their idiosyncrasies and nuances” states Mennah Ibrahim, MEA Director of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence.  “If we look at this from a macro perspective; recognizing that women’s economic power is continuing to grow around the world, and coupling it with the data that confirms the Muslim segment is the fastest growing economic segment globally, then it’s a slam dunk strategy to be working on eyeing the Arab woman as a consumer with enormous potential for brands in the future” she added. 

Female Tribes™ in the MENA region is the result of more than four years’ desk research, drawing on secondary research sources together with new proprietary research commissioned in 2016 across Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Lebanon.  It is a living study drawn from the Arab Women’s Index.

The Arab Women’s Index is J. Walter Thompson Intelligence MEA’s proprietary data bank which collects and analyses the latest research and statistical insights that characterise female progress in the region.  Over the years, J. Walter Thompson Intelligence MEA has charted the evolution of the Arab woman from the rise of the New Age Arab back in 2009, to the Power Women in 2012, to the edgy, progressive and driven Mipsterz in 2014.


J. Walter Thompson Company was founded in 1864 and has been making pioneering solutions that build enduring brands and business for more than 150 years. Today the company has evolved to include several global networks including J. Walter Thompson Worldwide, Mirum and Colloquial.

In the Middle East and Africa, J. Walter Thompson is one of the leading communication agencies in the region with 27 offices in 24 markets.   The MEA region is structured to deliver communication based business solutions across all channels needed to successfully deliver the marketing plan.  For more information, please visit us and follow us @jwtmea


J. Walter Thompson Intelligence, is a platform for global research, innovation and data analytics at J. Walter Thompson Company, housing three key practices: SONAR™, Analytics, and the Innovation Group. SONAR™ is J. Walter Thompson’s research unit that develops and exploits new quantitative and qualitative research techniques to understand cultures, brands, and consumer motivation around the world. Analytics focuses on the innovative application of data and technology to inform and inspire new marketing solutions. It offers a suite of bespoke analytics tools. Innovation Group charts emerging and future trends, consumer change and innovation patterns—translating these into insight for brands. Mennah Ibrahim is MEA Director of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence.


Philippa Clayre
T +961 1 973030                                         
T +961 70 974 261

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