Advertising watchdog bans 'harmful' gender stereotypes from being used in adverts

Michael Searles
Advertisers will no longer be able to insinuate that women are responsible for house chores or that men are incapable of doing them (Source: Getty)

The UK's advertising watchdog today banned gender stereotypes from adverts from June 2019 onwards.

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the body that writes and maintains the UK's advertising code, has said that gender stereotypes in adverts can be harmful and influence the way some people see themselves or hold them back.

The new ban comes after a review from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which found that adverts can play a role in unequal gender outcomes.

The CAP has published guidelines to demonstrate problematic scenarios for advertisers.

Under the new rules, adverts will not be able to depict men as unable to do house chores or change nappies, while women cannot be insinuated as unable to park a car, for example.

It will endeavour to prevent ads "aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is a priority over other factors such as their emotional wellbeing", while adverts will also be banned from indicating a person is not successful because of their physique.

"The evidence we published last year showed that harmful gender stereotypes in ads contribute to how people see themselves and their role in society," said Ella Smillie, the project leader at CAP.

"They can hold some people back from fulfilling their potential, or from aspiring to certain jobs and industries, bringing costs for individuals and the economy. We’ve spent time consulting on new standards to make sure they target specifically those images and portrayals we found cause harm.”

CAP will carry out a review 12 months after the ban is implemented to check whether it is having the positive effect intended or whether more needs to be done.