Dezeen Magazine

Where's Wally-style ad campaign highlights lack of women in the Egyptian workforce

It takes concentration to spot the sole woman in the crowds of workers on these posters, created by illustrators IC4Design and marketing agency DDB for UN Women in Egypt.

The ad campaign, titled Finding Her, was designed to draw attention to the lack of women in the Egyptian workforce, which is only 23 per cent female.

UN Women in Egypt

It focuses on three important but particularly male-dominated industries – politics, science and technology.

These are rendered in Japanese duo IC4Design's hyper-detailed style, which recalls the Where's Wally? puzzle books (Where's Waldo? to US readers) by English illustrator Martin Handford.

Readers are asked to strain their eyes to find the woman in each image, as they would have once searched for Wally in his distinctive red and white striped T-shirt.

"Even though the percentage of women in the workforce is so low, the issue still goes largely unnoticed," said Firas Medrows, executive creative director of DDB Dubai. "By creating these elaborate ads that you really spend time looking at, we wanted to raise awareness for the cause."

UN Women in Egypt

At the entry to each illustrated workplace – each storey teeming with men in suits or lab coats – is a sign with the UN Women logo.

Above it is a caption tailored to the particular industry depicted. The one at the aeronautics centre reads "Finding women in technology shouldn't be this hard" and "Let's work together for equal representation in the workplace".

UN Women in Egypt

The issue of equal pay and representation for women is one that is currently being spotlighted in many industries. The results of a Women in Architecture survey released just this February revealed that men are paid more than women in the sector, and the gap is actually widening.

When architect David Adjaye said that he was "embarrassed as a male" that women were still underrepresented in his industry, he stirred a controversy among some commenters, who rejected the idea that women faced unequal opportunities.

UN Women in Egypt

Jorg Schimmel, a UN Women country director, said that increasing representation of women in the workforce in Egypt had benefits for everyone.

"Research shows that gender parity in the workforce can increase Egypt's gross domestic product by 34 per cent," he said. "So engaging women in the workforce does not only benefit the women and their families, but it also has great positive benefits for the country's economy as a whole."

Project credits

Agency: DDB Dubai
Executive Creative Director: Firas Medrows
Group Creative Director: Zahir Mirza
Associate Creative Director: Hande Güler
Art Director: Andreas Schwitter
Copywriter: Victor Haffling
Planner: Hend Raafat
Illustrator: IC4Design