Gender stereotypes have been banned from being shown in British advertisements. Things like men having a tough time doing the laundry, unable to change diapers or women seeking help to park cars, will no more be a part of the commercials made in the United Kingdom. From Friday, advertisements must not include "gender stereotypes which are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence."
Advertising Standards Authority said that their aim is not to ban all gender stereotypes but to remove those that are harmful. British broadcasters are bound to follow the terms of their licenses. Authority chief executive Guy Parker said, "Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people's potential." International Men's Day 2018: 7 Reasons Why We Need A Day For Men.
While, Britain's advertising regulator announced the changes in December, companies were given a six-month adjustment period before it was put into practice. In a statement, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority said that they will also ban ads that try to represent success in romantic or social circles through physical appearance. Stereotypically personality traits to boys and girls like bravery for boys and timidness to girls will be avoided. Things like ridiculing men for doing so-called women's jobs will also be avoided from the ads.
The guidelines were set after a report from the regulator found that gender-stereotypical imagery and rhetoric "can lead to unequal gender outcomes in public and private aspects of people’s lives".
The report came following British ads which promoted negative assumptions about women. One of the ads included a Protein World ad which featured a bikini-wearing model with the question, "Are you beach body ready?" The poster had resulted in social media outrage leading to a Change.org petition garnering more than 70,000 signatures demanding the removal of the ads.
By adopting the new guidelines, Britain has joined countries like Belgium, France, Finland, Greece, Norway, South Africa and India that have various laws to prevent gender discrimination in ads. Different initiatives have been taken in the past by various agencies and organisations to reduce the portrayal of gender stereotypes. In 2017, Unilever had partnered with UN Women and many other major brands to create the In stereotype Alliance, that help educate people on how advertising can be biased and what can be done to avoid it.