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Ban on gender stereotyping in adverts

View profile for Amy Dutton
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Ban on gender stereotyping in adverts

It is understood that following a review of gender stereotyping in adverts by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s advertising watchdog has introduced a ban on adverts featuring “harmful gender stereotypes” or those which are likely to cause “serious or widespread offence”.

The ASA is the organisation that administers the UK advertising codes covering both broadcast and non-broadcast adverts as well as advertising online and social media. The recent review undertaken by the ASA concluded that there was evidence to suggest that harmful stereotypes, “can contribute to inequality in society”. As part of the review, the ASA brought together members of the public to watch various adverts, to gauge their feelings on potential stereotypical adverts.

Whilst the ban does not preclude the use of all gender stereotypes, the ASA confirmed that their main aim was to “identify specific harms that could be prevented”. Such examples include:

  • Women failing to park their car in a car park
  • Women cleaning whilst men sit down with their feet up
  • Adverts which belittle men for undertaking stereotypical female roles
  • Adverts aimed at new mothers to “look good” or to keep a “tidy home”

The ban would not extend to exclude use of all gender stereotypes, such as men undertaking DIY or women doing the shopping. However, it is still seen as a step in the right direction to ban gender stereotyping in adverts.

The new rules were outlined towards the end of last year, allowing advertisers six months to prepare for this.

Should you feel that you have been discriminated against, please do not hesitate to contact our discrimination team on 0175 321 6399 in order to explore the advice and assistance which may be available to you in your circumstances.

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