Nike Middle East Celebrates and Empowers Women Athletes in Hijabs


Nike Middle East Arab Muslim women hijab skateboard

Nike’s “Just Do It” could apply to compassion, inclusivity and diversity. The global sports brand has followed up its commitment to inclusivity following its “Equality” ad starring LeBron James and Serena Williams timed to America’s Black History Month and the Grammys telecast with a new ad spot that’s gone viral on the Internet.

Nike Middle East women ad hijab female athletes 2017

In a powerful new commercial that brings its Equality message to Nike Middle East, the brand features Arab and Muslim women athletes exercising and competing in a spot that recalls Nike India’s 2016 “Da Da Ding” campaign and extends on last year’s “Inner Strength” series inclusion of Amna Al Haddad, a weightlifter from the United Arab Emirates.

Nike Middle East hijab women athletes ad

The ad, filmed in Dubai, opens with a woman peeking from a doorway before going for a run in a hijab as people stare at her. The rest of the spot, released on Feb. 17, shows women skateboarding, fencing, boxing and ice skating.

In an Arabic voiceover that’s subtitled for English-language viewers, a woman asks, “What will they say about you?” The question is answered with a list of doubts and fears as the athletes are stared at with disapproving expressions. “You shouldn’t be out here. It’s unladylike. You’re not built for this,” the voiceover continues. But all of the athletes keep going. And then the voice says, “Or maybe they’ll say you’re strong. That you can’t be stopped… Or maybe they’ll say that you’re the next big thing.”

The commercial has won praise from Sara al-Zawqari, a spokesperson for the International Red Cross in Iraq, who commented on Twitter that the ad “touches on the insecurities of women in a society, digs deeper & becomes an empowerment tool rather than just a product.”


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