‘Harmful’ Gender Stereotypes Banned In UK Ads

A new rule brought in by the Committees of Advertising Practice following a review of gender stereotyping in ads carried out by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will see all harmful stereotypes in broadcast and non-broadcast media banned.

The ASA review found evidence suggesting that these can restrict the aspirations, opportunities and choices of children, young people and adults, and that advertising can reinforce certain stereotypes, which contributes towards unequal gender outcomes.

It’s worth noting, however, that gender stereotypes have not been banned outright since the evidence didn’t show that their use is always problematic. The rule has been brought in to help identify specific issues that should be prevented.

Problematic scenarios include an ad showing a man with his feet up, relatives creating a mess at home and a woman the only person responsible for cleaning up.

Chief executive of the ASA Guy Parker commented: “Our evidence shows how harmful gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to inequality in society, with costs for all of us.  Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people’s potential.

“It’s in the interests of women and men, our economy and society that advertisers steer clear of these outdated portrayals, and we’re pleased with how the industry has already begun to respond.”

Detailed advertising guidance has been written following extensive public consultations on this topic, setting out what is likely to fall foul of the rule change where depictions of gender stereotypes are concerned.

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