UK watchdog cracking down on ads with ‘harmful’ gender stereotypes

Posted on: July 19th, 2017 by ABC News No Comments

Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The United Kingdom advertising industry’s self-regulatory group is cracking down on ads that feature stereotypical gender roles, after releasing a report this week that found such ads may cause people to “restrict how they see themselves and how others see them.”

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is calling on its sister organization, the Committees of Advertising Practice, to develop new guidelines that ban ads from featuring stereotypical gender roles or characteristics.

“Our review shows that specific forms of gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to harm for adults and children,” Ella Smillie, the lead author of the report, released Tuesday, said in a statement. “Such portrayals can limit how people see themselves, how others see them, and limit the life decisions they take.”

Smillie adds that she hopes the new standards will help “ensure that modern society is better represented.”

The ASA noted that their research found that ads that were problematic included ones that depict a woman having the sole responsibility for cleaning up a mess made by he family members, portrayed a man attempting and failing a parental task, or suggested something is inappropriate for boys because it is stereo-typically associated with girls, and vice-versa.

Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA, noted that advertisements that reinforce stereotypical gender roles can play in gender inequality within society as a whole.

“Portrayals which reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles in society can play their part in driving unfair outcomes for people,” Parker said in a statement.

“While advertising is only one of many factors that contribute to unequal gender outcomes tougher advertising standards can play an important role in tackling inequalities and improving outcomes for individuals, the economy and society as a whole.”

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