Britain bans ‘harmful’ gender stereotypes in advertisements

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LONDON (AP) — Hapless husbands and housework-burdened moms were being banished from British advertising, as a crackdown on “harmful” gender stereotypes came into force Friday.

Under new rules, advertisements must not include “gender stereotypes which are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offense.”

Examples include depictions of a man failing to change a diaper or a woman to park a car, or ads that suggest women are solely responsible for cooking and cleaning.

Complaints will be assessed by industry watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority. It doesn’t have the power to impose fines, but British broadcasters are bound by the terms of their licenses to comply with its rulings.

The watchdog, which has previously banned ads for suggesting it was desirable for young women to be unhealthily thin, said it won’t ban all stereotypes, such as women cleaning or men doing home-improvement jobs.

The authority said its aim is to remove those that are harmful, such as ads that contrast “caring” girls and “daring” boys, or mock men for carrying out stereotypically “female” tasks.

“Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people’s potential,” Advertising Standards Authority chief executive Guy Parker said.

“It’s in the interests of women and men, our economy and society that advertisers steer clear of these outdated portrayals, and we’re pleased with how the industry has already begun to respond.”

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