Jul 10th, 2018

JWT London Announces Book Release of "New Female Tribes"

New Female Tribes

Five years ago, J. Walter Thompson London embarked on a record-breaking study of the largest consumer category in the world: women.

JWT London spoke to 8,000 women in 19 countries, including the UK, USA, China, India, Russia, Australia and Saudi Arabia. Among the findings the “Women’s Index” revealed:

  • 76% of women felt that it had never been a better time to be a woman
  • 50% questioned were the major breadwinners
  • 74% felt that work was linked to their sense of self

Taking insights from the Women’s Index, the agency launched Female Tribes Consulting to change the conversation that brands have with women, by reinforcing positive social norms and unlocking the economic value that women have for businesses.

76% of women felt that it had never been a better time to be a woman

Female Tribes has now been realized in a book, published by Virgin Books and written by J. Walter Thompson’s Head of Female Tribes Consulting, Rachel Pashley. Analyzing the results from around the world, Rachel formulated definitions for four “master tribes” based on the dimensions of achievement or enjoyment focus:

  • Alphas Driven and confident; emotionally self-sufficient; sexually expressive; keen on “leaning in”; and, in many cases, aggressive. They are founding companies and sitting on boards. Those with children have nannies and supportive partners.
  • Hedonists The focus for these women is on having a good time, and on self-development and enjoyment. They often postpone marriage and children, and take a special interest in social media, festivals and mind-expanding cultural experiences.
  • Traditionalists These women prioritize nurturing and family values. They may commit to helping their husband’s career and looking after the children as part of their side of the bargain. They may also have a strong entrepreneurial streak and run a business on the side but the family is the center of their universe.
  • Altruists These are the women who want to make the world a better place, whether through tech; social pioneering; promoting health, ethical and sustainable issues; or being culture-shapers.

Overall, there are more than 20 individual tribes that characterize contemporary femininity.

Of these stereotype-busting tribes, many women identified with more than one. The largest group was Alphas, with 56% of women worldwide reporting that they were more ambitious than their partners. 43% were Hedonists and 40% Traditionalists, with strikingly greater prevalence in the USA and the UK than in Asia; and 10% were Altruists.

One of the main things that holds women back is a lack of perceived precedent, which is incredibly damaging - Rachel Pashley

The tribes provide a new language with which to describe women in more meaningful and positive terms, while presenting a diverse study of contemporary femininity and the degree to which a woman’s role in society is advancing.

Already an Amazon bestseller, the book has launched to rave reviews from The Times and Evening Standard, with Rachel also talking to BBC Woman’s Hour and talkRADIO, and at Chatham House.

Rachel says: “One of the main things that holds women back is a lack of perceived precedent, which is incredibly damaging. It makes women feel like imposters, reinforces a sense that we don’t belong in a field; and for society, it weakens confidence in our abilities the idea that women are hired on proof, men on potential. Understanding your Tribes and the evidence of female precedent will remove barriers for women and help us truly embrace our potential.”

James Whitehead, J. Walter Thompson London CEO, says: “The success and evolution of J. Walter Thompson London’s Female Tribes study reinforces acutely how a better understanding of women today was needed for our industry. By exploding female stereotypes, this national book launch and its insight is there to change the way the world works for women.”

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