Social Justice

Adverts which show 'harmful gender stereotypes' are now banned

The new regulations mean advertisers must move away from ideas like a man unable to change a nappy or a woman unable to park a car.

children playing with toys

Adverts which feature ‘harmful gender stereotypes’ or which could cause ‘widespread offence’ have been banned.

The new regulations mean advertisers must move away from ideas like a man unable to change a nappy or a woman unable to park a car.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) gave firms six months to prepare for the new rules. The changes have now come into force.

Other banned scenarios flagged up by the watchdog include a man with his feet up while a woman cleans. ASA will block adverts which belittle men for carrying out stereotypically ‘female’ tasks.

We know from our work the harm that deep-rooted sexist attitudes can cause.

However the ASA changes will not stop advertisements showing women shopping, men doing DIY or ‘attractive’ people promoting lifestyle products.

Adverts which use gender stereotypes to challenge their negative effects will also not be blocked.

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“It’s in the interests of women and men, our economy and society that advertisers steer clear of these outdated portrayals, and we’re pleased with how the industry has already begun to respond.”

The watchdog will review the policy in 12 months time.

Action Aid UK, which works with women and girls living in poverty, described the regulations as ‘really positive’ and added: “We know from our work the harm that deep-rooted sexist attitudes can cause.”

The Fawcett Society charity is campaigning for gender equality. Chief executive Sam Smethers said: “This new advertising code from ASA is really welcome. We are keen to see how it will be implemented in practice.

“Gender stereotypes cause real harm in the way they limit our perceptions of how people should look or behave.  What we’d like to see as a next step is more advertising actively challenging gender stereotypes.”

@JoshKingWrites

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