Ban on ads that reinforce sexist stereotyping

  • Ban on ads that reinforce sexist stereotyping

Ban on ads that reinforce sexist stereotyping

"The new rule in the Advertising Codes states: "[Advertisements] must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence".

From June 2019 the watchdog will not allow adverts that feature "stereotypical gender roles or characteristics", such as women being left with the sole responsibility to clean, or an ad that shows a man failing to understand simple parental or household tasks.

"Portrayals which reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles in society can play their part in driving unfair outcomes for people", said Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA.

The advertising regulator is banning the depiction of harmful gender stereotypes in advertising, saying they have "no place" in United Kingdom marketing campaigns.

The ban follows a review from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) which found that harmful stereotypes can restrict people's choices and expectations of how others should "look or behave", including children.

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) said that any advert aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is a priority over other factors such as their emotional wellbeing would also be banned.

CAP has published guidelines, including examples of harmful ads, to help advertisers navigate the new rules.

CAP will carry out a review 12 months after the ban is implemented to check whether it is having the positive effect intended or whether more needs to be done.

"Wherever they appear or are reinforced, gender stereotypes can lead to mental, physical and social harm which can limit the potential of groups and individuals", the agency alleged in its report.

Set to cover adverts in newspapers, magazines, on television, in cinema, on leaflets and on the internet, the new rules will also apply to paid-for "influencer" posts by celebrities on social media channels such as Instagram, providing that the brand has final approval over the post and not the influencer.

Ella Smillie, who led CAP's gender stereotyping review, added: "The evidence we published a year ago showed that harmful gender stereotypes in ads contribute to how people see themselves and their role in society".

However, CAP is clear that not all gender specific ads will be banned, only those that are deemed harmful.

The watchdog said: "The rule and guidance does not intend to prevent ads from featuring glamorous, attractive, successful, aspirational or healthy people or lifestyles".