Posted on June 24, 2019

U.K. Bans Gender Stereotypes in Ads

WND, June 21, 2019

The U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority, the ASA, issued the ban in December and gave companies a six-month grace period, which expired last week, the Daily Caller reported.

The ASA’s chief executive, Guy Parker, said the ban was the result of a study the ASA conducted that concluded stereotypes in advertising can have “real-world psychological, physical, economic, social and political harm for individuals and groups.”


“Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people’s potential,” he 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 “It’s in the interests of women and men, our economy and society that advertisers steer clear of these outdated portrayals, and we’re pleased with how the industry has already begun to respond.”


It provided some specific examples of ads that would be forbidden:

  • An ad that depicts a man with his feet up and family members creating mess around a home while a woman is solely responsible for cleaning up the mess.
  • {snip}
  • An ad that seeks to emphasise the contrast between a boy’s stereotypical personality (e.g. daring) with a girl’s stereotypical personality (e.g. caring) needs to be handled with care.
  • An ad aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is a priority over other factors such as their emotional wellbeing.
  • An ad that belittles a man for carrying out stereotypically “female” roles or tasks.

The agency said it would not enforce the ban on the following examples:

  • {snip}
  • One gender only, including in ads for products developed for and aimed at one gender.
  • Gender stereotypes as a means to challenge their negative effects.


“Yes,” the ASA replied, “it’s our responsibility as the UK ad regulator to administer the rules and make judgements on whether an ad is likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

“It’s about content & context. Our rules don’t prohibit ads featuring a boy playing football/girl dressed as ballerina.