The Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) have announced a new rule which states that advertisements must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.

The new rule, which applies to both broadcast and non-broadcast media (including online and social media) will come into force on 14 June 2019 and follows a full public consultation. 

A review by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) found evidence which suggested that harmful stereotypes 'can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults and these stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which plays a part in unequal gender outcomes.'

The consultation conducted by CAP, which outlined their specific proposals to ban harmful gender stereotypes in ads, were supported by a majority of respondents.

ISBA recognise that unequal gender outcomes are harmful and arise out of a complex series of social, political and economic factors including stereotyping. We welcome the new rule being implemented by CAP and see this as a proactive step towards tackling what is an important issue - one which many of our members are already addressing.

CAP has also published guidance which sets out what's likely to fall foul of the new rule on depictions of gender stereotypes. The guidance is available to view here. CAP will carry out a 12 month review after the new rule comes into force to make sure it’s meeting its objective to prevent harmful gender stereotypes.

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Written 14th December 2018
By Colin Sheehan