Women's roles in society have changed and continue to evolve. They are the key decision makers and are responsible for between 70-80% of all purchases worldwide. And with more women in the workforce they are creators of wealth themselves. At a time of great cultural and social change epitomised by movements such as #metoo and #unstereotype, old stereotypes are being challenged and brands are adopting more relevant and appropriate ways of engaging with this vast and lucrative audience.


Women consumers are females aged 18 and over and are typically segmented as being pre-family, family, and post-family.

Key insights

1. Brands are failing to adequately reflect women in their ads

Brands are getting worse at including female voices in their campaigns, according to research from Google and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. 2019 analysis of more than 2.7m advertiser videos on YouTube showed women accounted for just 34% of all speaking time - down from 37% in 2015 and the lowest level ever recorded. While consumer packaged goods categories featured women speaking for longer than men, at 57% versus 43% across 2015 to 2019, automotive brands were the worst performers, with women accounting for just 21% of all speaking time. Business & industrial (24%) and finance (27%) placed second- and third-last, respectively. The issue is not confined to YouTube. Another 2018 Geena Davis Institute study of Cannes Lions Film shortlisted ads found that women represented 39% of speaking time – an improvement versus previous studies but not parity. While men and women were equally represented in stereotypical roles such as cleaning, cooking and shopping, and portrayed using tech or as intelligent, women were less commonly shown at work, in leadership, managerial and military positions or driving a car. And while differences had declined versus previous studies women were much more likely to be seen in revealing clothing or visually objectified than men.