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Brief Published: 2 Oct 2017

Young Muslim Women in SE Asia: More Islamic, More Global

Some 58% of young Muslim women in Malaysia say a career is very important

Young Muslim women in Southeast Asia are more cosmopolitan and religiously observant than their elders, according to a report from global marketing communications agency J. Walter Thompson.

The report surveyed 1,000 women in August 2017 and shows how young Muslimahs in Malaysia and Indonesia are influencing industries including halal fashion, technology and food. Highlights include:

  • Career-Minded Youth: Younger Muslim females are more likely than older generations to say that a career is important. Around half (52%) of Indonesian women aged 18 to 39 believe it is "very important", compared to 33% of women aged 40 and older. Fifty-eight per cent of young Malaysian females said a career is "very important", versus 48% of older women.
  • Seeking Freedom: The majority of Muslim women feel there are now more opportunities for females than before. However, 71% believe that younger women should have more freedoms than they do, as well as a stronger voice in their community and within government. 
  • New Opportunities: "Young Muslim women are showing a new set of aspirations and behaviours, which represent both opportunities and challenges for brands," said Chen May Yee, APAC director at JWT's The Innovation Group. "These two trends – more Islamic and more global – have created a space of conflict, negotiation, adaptation and innovation that's playing out across sectors."

For more on how millennial Muslim consumers are driving demand for products and services that reflect both their faith and modernity, see Gen M: Millennial Muslim Entrepreneurs.