BMRB, the independent research company that carried out the study on behalf of the NMA, questioned 1,300 regular female readers aged 16 and above, on how and why they read newspapers.
The study found that the majority of respondents read for "purposeful pleasure", to become informed and as a "worthwhile" personal activity.
According to the research, women look to newspapers to assist in their choices at work, at home and shopping.
To unlock her interest, the findings continued, a paper must understand how a woman's mood shifts from section to section, and a successful ad will empathise with where she is in the newspaper.
There was also a positive response to uncluttered, clear messages.
The study revealed that, on average, women spend 37 minutes reading the paper, while allowing 47 minutes on Sundays. They create rituals around their reading experience, including having a cup of tea or coffee, or something else indulgent, lying on the sofa or reading while on the train to work.
While in this mind-set, the research found, they are more receptive to brand messages.
The results will be made available both to creative and media agencies to help improve their understanding of female readers and how they respond to advertising.
Maureen Duffy, the NMA chief executive, said: "Our remit is very much to help advertisers and agencies get the most out of newspapers as an advertising medium.
"Many do not understand the relationship readers have with a newspaper and the fact that it can be used as a medium for brand building."