NEWS14 December 2017

Rule to ban gender stereotyping in UK ads in 2018

Media News UK

UK – Advertising regulator the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced it will introduce a new rule in the UK Advertising Codes early next year, banning the use of harmful gender stereotyping in ads.

Gender crop

The move follows a review by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published earlier this year, which presented the case for stronger regulation of ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics.

The evidence put forward in the ASA review suggested that harmful stereotypes, reinforced by some advertising, can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults. 

Ella Smillie, regulatory policy executive at CAP, said: “The introduction of a new advertising rule from 2018 will help advertisers to know where to draw the line on the use of acceptable and unacceptable stereotypes.”

While the rule will not ban all forms of gender stereotypes, the new standards will  focus on certain depictions that are likely to be problematic, such as, for example, a woman having sole responsibility for cleaning up her family’s mess, or a man trying and failing to undertake simple household tasks. 

The regulator will set out and consult on its proposed new standards and guidance in spring 2018. 

Guy Parker, chief executive of the ASA, welcomed the move, adding that the new rule in the Advertising Codes would help to address the "harmful and outdated practices" identified in the review.