Women’s Health Victoria, Issues Paper No. 14, December 2018
The aim of this issues paper is to provide an overview of significant literature
currently published on the nature of gender portrayals in advertising, and the
impacts of these representations on women’s health and wellbeing, gender
inequality and attitudes and behaviours that support violence against women.
This issues paper found that the continued use of gender stereotypes
and increasing reliance on images that sexualise and objectify women in
advertisements undermines efforts to promote gender equality in Australia.
Gender-stereotyped portrayals limit the aspirations, expectations, interests and
participation of women and men in our society. These portrayals are associated
with a range of negative health and wellbeing outcomes and are highly
problematic for the prevention of family violence and other forms of violence
The studies cited in this paper demonstrate that there is a clear business
case for change. Brands, businesses and creative agencies can benefit from
portraying both women and men proportionately, respectfully and realistically.