UN Women in the Arab States redefines marketing and advertising for gender equality


UN Women in the Arab States redefines marketing and advertising for gender equality

Negative and diminished conceptions of women and girls are one of the greatest barriers for gender equality." Such disparity highlights an important gap in the portrayal of women’s roles within society, which the newly-launched UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States toolkit on gender-responsive marketing and advertising practices aims to address.

The ROAS gender-responsive marketing toolkit provides practical guidance, self-assessment tools, detailed checklists and best practices to companies of all sizes and industries on how to design, roll out and measure the impact of their marketing and advertising campaigns and initiatives with a gender lens. The toolkit is aimed at advertising agencies and marketing departments within private sector companies in order to better capacitate marketing teams with the required tools and information that would contribute to gender-responsive advertisements and campaigns. It is also directly aligned and linked to Women’s Empowerment Principle 5 “Enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices”, which advocates for multiple actions, among which is the removal of harmful gender-based stereotypes in all media and advertising and systematically depicting women and men as empowered actors with progressive, intelligent and multi-dimensional personalities.

As part of the toolkit’s launch, ROAS has initiated an overarching launching campaign that aims to showcase and highlight the critical need for a more gender-inclusive narrative in the marketing and advertising industry. Through this approach, the campaign essentially stresses on the wider message of gender-responsive marketing, featuring real-world and existing best practices of marketing campaigns from companies that have already embarked on this journey. The campaign was essentially designed in order to inspire private sector companies and organizations in the region to re-assess their marketing and advertising methods and tactics, implementing more inclusive and gender-responsive marketing practices.

The toolkit is designed to raise awareness about how gender equality can be mainstreamed across the marketing and advertising function, in line with society trends that would lead to more favorable business outcomes. In light of this launch, ROAS has successfully rolled out the first regional Training of Trainers (ToT) in the Arab States region on gender-responsive marketing, inviting representatives and employees from private sector companies such as Zain Jordan, Mansour Group, Beltone Financial and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, bringing them together for an in-person exchange in Cairo. As part of the training, participants were asked to critically analyze existing marketing and advertising campaigns, identify best practices and pitfalls, in addition to coming up with ideas for a more inclusive and equitable advertising arena. These participants have successfully been trained on the essentials and fundamental aspects of gender-responsive marketing, and are now ready to begin training others within their organizations, companies and broader networks. As part of our efforts to amplify the reach of this guidance and create more synergies for collaboration across the region  As a next step, ROAS will be rolling out further trainings across the region, particularly in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Palestine.

Currently, the Arab region has the largest gender gap in vulnerable employment, as women make up the majority of informal labour market workers, and among which the unemployment rate exceeds 20 per cent. It is for this reason that the toolkit represents an additional step taken towards bridging the gender gap within the marketing and advertising industry in the Arab States region, emphasizing the importance of aligning marketing practices with societal trends towards gender equality, and demonstrating how such alignment can lead to improved business growth outcomes, because equality means business. This approach is vital in a region where societal norms are quickly advancing, and companies must adapt to stay relevant and resonate with their audiences. If companies advertise and market equally for all genders, this would increase their profits and help sustain their market growth, not only in the Arab States, but also globally.


PSA: Gender-responsive marketing


Toolkit to Promote Gender Equality in Marketing & Advertising

For more information or questions about the gender-responsive marketing toolkit and its trainings:

Heba Hesham
Private Sector Development Specialist
[ Click to reveal ]

For communications inquiries:

Reem Akl
Communications and Advocacy Analyst
[ Click to reveal ]