World / Social Issues

No more hapless husbands or housework-burdened moms: Britain bans 'harmful' gender stereotypes in ads

AP

Hapless husbands and housework-burdened moms are being banished from British advertising as a crackdown on “harmful” gender stereotypes came into force Friday.

Under new rules, advertisements must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offense.

Examples include depictions of a man failing to change a diaper or a woman to park a car, or ads that suggest women are solely responsible for cooking and cleaning.

Complaints will be assessed by industry watchdog the Advertising Standards Authority. It doesn’t have the power to impose fines, but British broadcasters are bound by the terms of their licenses to comply with its rulings.

The watchdog, which has previously banned ads for suggesting it is desirable for young women to be unhealthily thin, said it won’t ban all stereotypes, such as women cleaning or men doing home-improvement jobs.

The authority said its aim is to remove those that are harmful, such as ads that contrast “caring” girls and “daring” boys or mock men for carrying out stereotypically “female” tasks.

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“It’s in the interests of women and men, our economy and society that advertisers steer clear of these outdated portrayals, and we’re pleased with how the industry has already begun to respond.”