Equalising language

Hat tip to Katy in Dubai for this one.

Gender inequality inherent in language was addressed with great success in a recent female empowerment campaign run in Lebanon, and Leo Burnett Bahrain, the agency behind the campaign, was recognised at last week’s Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

In Arabic the placement of accent punctuation above or below the word indicates whether it addresses a male or female audience. Increasingly no accent at all is used, which means the word becomes directed by default to a male audience. This means that official communications, marketing messages and public information all become addressed just to a male audience.

In the Khede Kasra campaign, the Women Empowerment organisation used a wide variety of marketing and communications tools to highlight the issue and encourage the use of the appropriate accent to include women into the audience. The campaign seems to have been highly successful and it’s really pleasing to see in the Khede Kasra campaign video on YouTube (embedded below) that it appealed to men and women alike. The scale of mainstream interest it gathered must surely have helped make progress in female empowerment within the region.


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