So long, sexist adverts: 'Harmful gender stereotypes' in commercials banned


A ban has been enforced on adverts showing “harmful gender stereotypes” and adverts likely to cause “serious and widespread offence”.

The UK’s advertising watchdog enforced the ban after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) conducted a review into gender stereotyping in adverts.

It marks the end of adverts showing a woman doing the housework while the man puts his feet up, for example.

A ban on gender stereotypes has come into effect after a review by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). [Photo: Getty]
A ban on gender stereotypes has come into effect after a review by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). [Photo: Getty]

Adverts like this are seen as “limiting people’s potential” according to the UK’s advertising watchdog.

It said it has been pleased with how advertisers have responded to the rule change, after they were told it would be coming into effect six months ago.

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The ASA is responsible for administering broadcast and non-broadcast UK Advertising Codes across all platforms, including social media.

The review it conducted into gender stereotyping in adverts found that the stereotypes “restricted choices, aspirations and opportunities for children, young people and adults”.

The ASA’s chief executive, Guy Parker, added: “Our evidence shows how harmful gender stereotypes in ads can contribute to inequality in society, with costs for all of us. Put simply, we found that some portrayals in ads can, over time, play a part in limiting people's potential.”

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There are a number of situations we probably won’t see in adverts anymore.

This includes a man or a woman failing at an everyday task because of their gender. For example, a man being unable to put his baby’s nappy on or a woman failing to park a car.

It also marks the end of adverts imploring new mothers to keep their house tidy or look good, with suggestions that this is more important than their mental wellbeing.

Adverts that belittle men for doing what are deemed as stereotypical female roles will also be banned under the new rules.

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