Advertising (in)equality: the impacts of sexist advertising on women’s health and wellbeing

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

against women.

 

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.