Gender stereotypes reinforce old prejudices

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Banning sexist ads in the UK
By María V. R.
Advertisements in the UK will no longer be able to depict gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm or widespread offence. This change to the Advertising Codes applies to broadcast and non-broadcast media, and it follows a public consultation and review of gender stereotyping in ads. The review found evidence that harmful stereotypes can restrict people’s choices, aspirations and opportunities, and these prejudices are reinforced by some forms of advertising. Under the new rules, British companies will no longer be able to create promotions that depict men and women engaged in gender-stereotypical activities, because such engrained prejudices are contributing to pay inequality and causing psychological harm.

The new rule provides guidance by giving examples of scenarios that are likely to be problematic in ads. For instance, adverts showing a woman struggling to park a car, or a man refusing to do housework while his wife cooks dinner will be banned. Members of the public will be able to report adverts to the regulator if they feel they breach the code. The new rules will cover adverts in newspapers, magazines, television, cinema, leaflets and the internet.

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