Watchdog calls for an end to gender stereotyping in adverts

The British ASA says a tougher line is needed

Watchdog calls for an end to gender stereotyping in adverts

A hand holds a remote control in front of a television set in Berlin, Germany | Image: Britta Pedersen/DPA/PA Images

A report by a British advertising watchdog has called for more to be done to end gender stereotypes.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says there is support for banning ads that objectify or inappropriately sexualise women and girls, and ads that suggest it is acceptable for young women to be unhealthily thin.

But it says evidence suggests a "tougher line" needs to be taken on ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics which may be potentially harmful to people.

"This includes ads that mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes", it says.

It says it would be "inappropriate and unrealistic" to prevent ads from, for instance, depicting a woman cleaning - but that new standards could change the context which might be problematic.

An example would be an ad which depicts family members creating mess, while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up.

Another could be an ad that suggests an activity is inappropriate for a girl because it is stereotypically associated with boys or vice-versa.

Or an ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks.

The UK's Committees of Advertising Practice says it will develop new standards on ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics which, through their content and context, might be potentially harmful to people.

It says this includes ads that mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes.

Read the report in full here