UK Bans Ads Promoting Harmful Gender Stereotypes

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The ban covers scenarios such as a man with his feet up while a woman cleans, or a woman failing to park a car.

From Friday, advertisements must not include “gender stereotypes which are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offense”. Examples include depictions of men struggling to complete simple domestic tasks or ads that suggest women are solely responsible for cooking and cleaning. This also includes humorous ads, which could be seen as an attack on freedom of speech laws.

The new rule follows a review of gender stereotyping in adverts by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – the organisation that administers the UK Advertising Codes, which cover both broadcast and non-broadcast adverts, including online and social media.

“There is significant evidence,” the agency’s report read, “that gender inequality leads to real-world harms for adults and children. These unequal outcomes might affect different people in a variety of practical, social, emotional and economic ways.”

“An ad aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is a priority over other factors such as their emotional well being,” another guideline read.

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