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Advertising Guidance on Depicting Gender Stereotypes Likely to Cause Harm or Serious or Widespread Offence

Committee of Advertising Practice (UK)
The Committee of Advertising Practice of the UK created this guidance to help advertisers, agencies, and media owners interpret the CAP Code. This guidance is based on formal regulation in the UK banning gender stereotypes in advertising; however, it provides examples of scenarios featuring gender-stereotypical roles to avoid in advertisements.

  • Gender-stereotypical roles and characteristics: 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.
  • Pressure to conform to an idealized gender-stereotypical body shape or physical features: An ad that depicts a person who was unhappy with multiple aspects of their life, then implies that all their problems were solved by changing their body shape.
  • Scenarios aimed at or featuring children: An ad that seeks to emphasize 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.
  • Scenarios aimed at or featuring potentially vulnerable groups: 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.
  • Scenarios featuring people who don’t conform to a gender stereotype: An ad that belittles a man for carrying out stereotypically “female” roles or tasks.

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