Marketing News

Gender stereotypes banned in ads

18 Dec 2018

Adverts that endorse harmful gender stereotypes will be banned from June 2019.

New guidelines issued by the UK's advertising watchdog ban "gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence."

Rules set by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) state adverts must not show sexist ideas, such as men struggling to carry out childcare duties or female pupils being less academic than boys.

The change comes after a review of gender stereotyping in adverts by the ASA which found that "harmful stereotypes can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults." The review also found that these stereotypes can be "reinforced by some advertising, which plays a part in unequal gender outcomes."

According to Ella Smillie, policy expert at the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), this does not mean adverts can no longer show men and women carrying out gender-typical roles.

"The issue would be if in that depiction it suggested that that's the only option available to that gender and never carried out by someone of another gender," Smillie stated.

CAP gave examples of situations that could cause a problem under the new guideline, such as a woman struggling to park a car or adverts demeaning a man for performing stereotypical 'female' tasks.

Rules already set out by the watchdog include a ban on adverts that include gender stereotypes on grounds of "objectification, inappropriate sexualisation and depiction of unhealthily thin body images".

The issue would be if in that depiction it suggested that that's the only option available to that gender and never carried out by someone of another gender,
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