Recently, Twitter held a half-day event bringing together agencies, brands and publishers to shed light on female Twitter users’ behavior, mindset, and habits.

With women now driving in Saudi – and 3 million* being expected to do so by 2020 – brands have found themselves a shiny new opportunity.

While the short-term and direct impact of the decision will benefit automakers, its long-term benefits apply to other sectors too from retail to F&B.

And so, automotive brands aren’t the only ones trying to understand the Saudi female psyche and advertise to them.

How should brands market to them?

“The best way to market to women is NOT to market to them,” said Elda Choucair, CEO of PHD in her keynote, which cautioned listeners to stay away from stereotypes.

While women empowerment is a global movement that’s now making leaps in the region, it is important to consider the cultural sensitivities and readiness of women in the different countries in the region before marketing to them. A good example of this is NIKE’s ad, which shows women in hijabs running on the street. The campaign drew positive comments from around the world. In the region, however, it elicited a backlash as Saudi women took to social media to condemn the ad.

In the same vein, Choucair urged the audience to reconsider the idea of an ‘empowered’ woman. “Is it possible women in our region aspire to have their own business than be in a corporate boardroom?”

To support her theory, she drew an interesting parallel between STEM education and entrepreneurship.

Women’s participation in STEM is below 25 percent even in Scandinavian countries known for gender equality. In the region, however, it’s much higher – above 60 percent in Oman, UAE and Saudi with the latter seeing up to 100 percent participation in some Saudi universities.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, women are three times more successful in winning seed crowdfunding in the UAE last year.

And so, maybe, “A tech startup business is the future; not the boardroom,” added Choucair.

“The best way to market to women is not to market to women. Look in the mirror and face the fact that we don’t know her and we need to try harder to figure out who she is. We need to move away from stereotyping, and stop assuming they’re all the same, homogenous,” concluded Choucair.

Read the entire article in Communicate.