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That’s why mums (and now dads) go to Iceland


What is the news?

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced that it will ban “gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm or serious or widespread offence” in advertisements. New rules coming into force on 14 June 2019 will apply to both broadcast and non-broadcast media (including online and social media).

What does the news means?

These changes follow a review of gender stereotyping in ads by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Adverts which typically use gender stereotypes (such as females in the kitchen/doing the shopping etc) will be scrutinised as to whether they affirm prejudices. The ASA’s review found “evidence suggesting that harmful stereotypes can restrict the choices, aspirations and opportunities of children, young people and adults and these stereotypes can be reinforced by some advertising, which plays a part in unequal gender outcomes.”. The focus will be on specific proposals as opposed to an outright ban on gender stereotypes.

What do we think of the news?

Although not quite a legal issue, we felt this decision was HRtCn-worthy because it is a high-profile example of how gender equality is at the forefront of society in many ways. With gender pay gap reporting, board inequality, changes to flexible working and social media campaigns, we have seen various legal and socio-legal changes which acknowledge the importance of gender equality and the need for mutual respect and opportunity.

Advertising should not affect individuals from aiming for employment in certain sectors and the knock-on effects of this are wide-ranging. Ella Smillie, gender stereotyping project lead at CAP, has commented that harmful gender stereotypes can hold people back from “fulfilling their potential, or from aspiring to certain jobs and industries, bringing costs for individuals and the economy”. Some industries have invested significantly to try and encourage all genders into their industries (such as engineering and construction) and this investment is another example of how the corporate world is trying to abolish gender prejudice. Any external influences such as advertising may encourage prejudice or be a deterrent for individuals of any age deciding on their career.

Today is the day that the Emmeline Pankhurst statue is being unveiled in Manchester city centre to celebrate and honour rights for women, 100 years after the first woman voted in the general election. One hundred years on and there have been so many changes in law and in society to encourage gender equality. We wonder what will happen in the next 100 years.

If you would like to talk through any concerns you may have in relation to equality and diversity, you can contact Solicitor, Heena Kapadi on T: 0161 358 0540 or E: heenakapadi@hrclaw.co.uk or Associate, Siobhan Howard-Palmer on T: 0161 358 0537 or E: siobhanhoward-palmer@hrclaw.co.uk.

This contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.