UN Women and Serviceplan partner to promote gender equality in the Arabic language


[Press release]

Arabic is a grammatically gendered language. However, the male case is often used by default, even in job advertisements that are in fact aimed at all jobseekers. In order to raise awareness on the importance of gender inclusiveness in communication, particularly in the world of work, UN Women and creative agency Serviceplan Health & Life are partnering in an advocacy campaign proposing a new Arabic character: the “All-Genders Sign” which makes it possible to include everyone. The campaign is launching today on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

Cairo/Munich, 8 March 2022 — UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States and Serviceplan Health & Life are partnering in an innovative campaign to increase awareness on gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly in the world of work. The campaign proposes a new Arabic character: The “All-Genders Sign” which makes it possible to include everyone and illustrates the importance of including all individuals in how we communicate to design and lead a workplace for success.

The use of the “All-Genders Sign” in a series of mock job advertisements highlights that both women and men bring talents and expertise that benefit the workplace. The aim is to sensitise companies to the use of gender-inclusive language and to make gender equality visible in their job advertisements as well. Developed with an Arabic linguist, the “All-Genders Sign” is designed to prompt thought around how our use of inclusive language can lead to greater inclusion everywhere, and particularly in the workplace. The sign is part of a new font developed for the campaign and can be used free of charge.

Launched today to mark International Women’s Day, the campaign will be publicised in Arabic daily newspapers, on the UN Women Arab States website and social media channels. The images for the campaign, which is based around the slogan “Gender equality in the workplace begins with a job advertisement”, are designed to appear as actual job advertisements, including the All-Genders Sign. The accompanying text will inform recipients about the new character and prompt them to download and use the All-Genders Sign. The campaign was developed by Serviceplan Health & Life and implemented in collaboration with Serviceplan Middle East.

“UN Women recognizes that language is a powerful tool and has a critical role to play in fighting gender bias and promoting gender-inclusiveness in all contexts and at all times. We commend Serviceplan for highlighting the often-neglected nuances and raising awareness with this campaign to enhance the usage of gender-inclusive language that values all individuals equally, and which helps to end harmful gender stereotypes, particularly in the world of work,” says Susanne Mikhail Eldhagen, UN Women Regional Director for the Arab States.  

“Our aim was to develop an easily comprehensible character that can be simply integrated into Arabic script. We are proud to promote this important issue together with UN Women and hope that, with the development of this small typographical symbol, we can have a major impact on Arabic-speaking society,” states Matthias Jester-Pfad, Creative Director at Serviceplan Health & Life.


Media contacts:

UN Women Regional Office for the Arab States

  • Diego De La Rosa
    Regional Communications Specialist
  • Nourhan ElNagdy
    Regional Communications Associate

About UN Women:

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

About Serviceplan Group:

The Serviceplan Group is the largest and most diversified owner- and partner-managed agency group globally. Founded in 1970 as a traditional advertising agency, Serviceplan quickly developed its “House of Communication” concept, creating the only fully integrated agency model in Germany, combining all communication disciplines under one roof. Whether brand strategists, creatives, experience designers, marketing-technology experts, CRM experts, data scientists, market researchers, PR consultants or sales professionals, at Serviceplan, everyone works together to achieve a common goal. The Serviceplan Agency Group is represented in 34 countries worldwide with 23 agency locations plus additional local partnerships. The media agency Mediaplus, the digital service provider for customer experience und commerce Plan.Net, and the market research institute Facit, rank as market leaders in their respective competitive environments. The precisely coordinated interaction of more than 40 specialist agencies focused on creativity, technology and media, makes Serviceplan the leading agency group for innovative communication.