CAP bans ‘harmful’ adverts featuring gender stereotypes

The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced it is to ban “harmful” adverts featuring gender stereotypes.

CAP’s ban comes after regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), commissioned a review of gender stereotyping in advertising. Following the review, CAP said it would ban adverts featuring “gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence”.

The new advertising rules will be in operation from June 2019, and will see scenarios such as men struggling with housework or or girls being less academic than boys outlawed. The ASA’s review found that this style of advertising can “restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults”.

Ella Smillie, a policy expert at CAP, said: “There is nothing in our new guidance to suggest that ads can’t feature people carrying out gender-typical roles. The issue would be if in that depiction it suggested that that’s the only option available to that gender and never carried out by someone of another gender.

“So for example if you had a woman doing the cleaning, we wouldn’t anticipate a problem. But if you had an advert with a man creating lots of mess and putting his feet up while a woman cleaned up around him, and it was very clear that she was the only person that did that at home, that’s the kind of thing that could be a problem.”

CAP’s director Shahriar Coupal, added: “Harmful gender stereotypes have no place in UK advertisements. Nearly all advertisers know this, but for those that don’t, our new rule calls time on stereotypes that hold back people and society.”

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