ASA's ban on gender stereotyping comes into effect

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

From today (June 14th), advertisers have been forbidden to portray "harmful gender stereotypes" in their work, through a new standard implemented by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP).

According to the ASA, certain stereotypes, when presented to the general public in adverts, affect people's self-worth and can alter their aspirations and confidence.

The general public are invited to report any instances of harmful stereotyping they see, and the ASA will enforce the regulation. There will not be a blanket ban on any connection between people and the things they could be stereotyped as doing - for example, men doing DIY or women shopping - or against adverts featuring only one gender. Instead, specific harms will be identified by the ASA, and taken on a case-by-case basis.

CAP will review the rules in 12 months, to assess whether targets have been met.

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“It’s in the interests of women and men, our economy and society that advertisers steer clear of these outdated portrayals, and we’re pleased with how the industry has already begun to respond."

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