“Being confident, intelligent and respectful in a girl’s daily life and the way she deals with people, will make her look beautiful and radiant, regardless of what she wears.”
Asma’a added: “When I was younger, being strong was viewed by some as ‘mistarjelah’ (acting like a man). After being profiled on Miraa, I had women approach me asking how they can become stronger too. It feels good to encourage a healthy standard of beauty for others.
“It’s important for women to share a real side of their lives with each other, rather than the manicured version that we often see on social media. When I hear Serena Williams discuss her struggles competing as a mother, it makes me feel that I can get through the challenges that I face in my life.”
Miraa’s diverse network of female Arab contributors has helped Unilever brands’ visibility and relevance. An example is Dove’s #ShowUs campaign, the world’s largest photo library, created by women and nonbinary individuals, which features women profiled through Miraa. With more than 5,000 images, #ShowUs offers a more inclusive vision of beauty for media and advertisers to use.
Similarly, Lux aimed to encourage more Saudi women to enter the workforce after identifying that only 16 percent of the Saudi workforce was female, despite women making up 76 percent of unemployed Bachelors-degree holders. Lux’s #IntoTheSpotlight campaign purchased hundreds of search terms on Google to ensure that female professionals were the first results seen by those with hiring power, thus also shining a light on female role models who had broken into male-dominated fields.
In an age when there is increased scrutiny on corporate purpose statements and accusations of “purpose washing,” the campaigns launched off Miraa have helped Unilever’s brands demonstrate real intent and responsibility in their efforts to drive social value.
The numbers look promising. As of January 2020, the website recorded 3 million unique users for the year, with 6.6 million individual page views.
Unilever’s global CEO Alan Jope believes the firm’s approach to social purpose helps build resilience and attract employees as well as customers. He commonly quotes his belief that “Brands with purpose grow, companies with purpose last, and people with purpose thrive.”
Ms. Boraie agrees. “Brands should never underestimate the value of inclusivity, authenticity, and relevance. They’re not going to find it in board rooms, but through engaging with their audiences.”
Tasha Young is a Director with Brunswick based in Dubai.
Illustration: Franziska Barczyk
Photographs: Courtesy of Unilever