What Makes Women Feel Empowered?

Confident woman silhouette from behind, raising her fist, walking into the sunset.

In recent years, messages of female empowerment have found a greater presence in popular culture. Many issues that affect women every day are prevalent in the news; lending increased awareness to female empowerment in politics, the workplace, home, health, education, and more. In addition to increased visibility, messages of female empowerment are also becoming more present on social media, in entertainment, and the advertising space.

Many companies have sought to appeal to women through the use of empowerment messaging but are sometimes hesitant to do so because of the topical or political ramifications that could ensue. As a result, we conducted research to find out how women in different age groups perceive female empowerment, what messaging resonates best, and what brands would be most likely to reach women by utilizing messages of women’s empowerment.

The Research

To understand more about perceptions among women when it comes to female empowerment, the study addressed the following objectives:  

  • Explore what empowerment means to women in their daily lives and media consumption, and the relevance of different celebrities, movies, characters, brands, etc.
  • Understand reactions to female empowerment, feminist advertising, and related messages
  • Determine what products, categories, and brands are a good fit for empowerment messaging
  • Define the similarities and differences in sentiments across Teens, Millennials, and Generation X  

The Results

Ultimately, no matter the age, women feel most empowered when they see women who are similar to them and easy to relate to.

Characteristics like intelligence, success, and kindness are just a few examples that make women feel empowered. These characteristics can apply to any empowering woman, not just celebrities. While a variety of celebrities do come to mind when thinking of empowering women, respondents also enjoy empowering role models like themselves (mothers, wives, workers, etc.).

Women’s empowerment is most easily applied to beauty and athletic brands.

There are a variety of cosmetic brands that have been using empowerment in messaging for some time, similar to athletic brands, so it makes sense that women feel brands of this nature would best represent female empowerment messaging. These two industries also seem obvious choices for female empowerment since they exist to allow women to take charge of their bodies and looks.

Generational differences emerge when women are asked about sources and messaging of empowerment.

While Teens, Millennials, and Generation X find some common examples in empowering advertising, the sources vary. For example, Millennial and Gen X women are more likely to find empowerment in nurturing roles, while Teens find it more frequently through personal accomplishments.

To learn more about the generational differences and how advertising can incorporate women’s empowerment messaging, download the full report below. You’ll also learn about

  • Women’s definitions of female empowerment
  • Activities that promote empowerment
  • Examples in media and advertising of women’s empowerment (and non-empowerment)
  • Messaging that influences the greatest feeling of empowerment among women
  • How brands can incorporate empowerment messaging into advertising campaigns

Download Executive Summary