Insights Advertising Standards Authority publishes call for evidence on gender stereotyping in ads.

In recent years, there has been increasing political and public debate on equality issues, the ASA says.  The objectification and sexualisation of women in ads, presenting an idealised or unrealistic body image, the mocking of women and men in non-stereotypical roles, the reinforcement of stereotyped views of gender roles, and gender-specific marketing to children are all issues that have gained considerable public interest.

As a proactive regulator, the ASA says that it wants to find out more about these issues.  Consequently, it will be doing three things: (i) examining evidence on gender stereotyping in ads; (ii) seeking views from a range of stakeholders; and (iii) commissioning its own research into public opinion.

At this stage the ASA says that it is being “open-minded” about what stakeholders and research tell it about gender stereotyping in ads and the impact of such advertising, which will shape the project as it moves forward.  In particular, it is keen for people and organisations to send in any research they have on the issue.

The project will report on whether the ASA is getting it right on gender stereotyping in ads.  If the evidence suggests a change in regulation is merited it will set out the best way to achieve it.

The regulator says that it is “serious about making sure we’re alive to changing attitudes and behaviours”.  It is already taking action to ban ads that it believes reinforce gender stereotypes and that are likely to cause serious and widespread offence, or harm.  To read the regulator’s statement in full and for details on how to respond to the call for evidence, click here.