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Britain launches ban on gender stereotyping in adverts

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Britain on Friday launched a ban on gender stereotyping in advertising, requiring broadcast, print, online and social media to ensure advertisements comply with new rules.

According to the Adverstising Standards Authority (ASA) rules, media organisations must avoid the inclusion in advertising of gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.

The ASA gave examples of targeted advertisements, including any depicting a woman or a man “failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender.’’

It cited “a man’s inability to change nappies or a woman’s inability to park a car.’’

“Our evidence shows how harmful gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to inequality in society, with costs for all of us,’’ Guy Parker, the ASA’s chief executive, said.

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Sam Smethers, head of the London-based Fawcett Society, which promotes women’s rights and gender equality, welcomed the ban.

“We are keen to see how it will be implemented in practice,’’ Smethers said.

“Gender stereotypes cause real harm in the way they limit our perceptions of how people should look or behave.

“What we’d like to see as a next step is more advertising actively challenging gender stereotypes,’’ she said.

The Women’s Equality Party also said the ban was “great news.’’

“We look forward to broadcasters adopting similar rules to govern the programmes they show,’’ it tweeted.

Smethers said she now wants to challenge gender stereotypes in early childhood “because evidence shows that so much of the damage is done in the earliest months and years of life.’’ (NAN)