Inspire Inclusion this International Women’s Day 2024

Mar 7th '24

As a globally recognised day, International Women’s Day is a focal point of the women’s rights movement. Taking place annually, on 8 March, it serves to celebrate the social, cultural, economic, and political achievements of women and acts as a renewed call for action to progress gender equality.


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has always taken a firm line on harmful or offensive depictions of gender, objectification, and irresponsible depictions of body image in advertising.  Follow the advice below to ensure that you remain compliant with the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code in your advertising.


  • Avoid harmful or offensive stereotypes

Advertising rules CAP Code and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Code prohibited ads from using gender stereotypes likely to cause harm or serious, or widespread offence. Ads which depict stereotypical roles or characteristics in a way which suggests that they are always uniquely associated with one gender, the only options available to one gender, or never carried out or displayed by another gender are likely to be problematic.


The ASA has ruled against a number of ads in which harmful gender stereotypes are perpetuated, including an ad for a dating website which relied on the negative gender stereotype of a woman carrying out domestic chores in order to please her male partner.


Similarly, an ad which perpetuated the stereotypical view that women are less likely than men to run their own business, and are not skilled at using technology was deemed to breach the Code.


  • Sexualisation and objectification

Ads should not present people of any gender in a way that could present them as objects. Focusing on women’s bodies, particularly in circumstances in which they are unrelated to the product or service being advertised, is likely to be considered objectification, and should be avoided.


For example, the ASA previously upheld a complaint about an ad for a retailer of construction machinery, which featured three women, wearing yellow hardhats and bikinis, posing outside on an excavator. The ASA concluded the use of women in bikinis bore no relevance to the product and presented them as sexual objects.


Similarly, in a fast fashion brand’s product listing for a pair of jeans, the ASA considered that images which focused on a female model’s bare torso, while obscuring her face, in combination with the suggestive nature of the accompanying slogans, presented women as sexual objects and was therefore irresponsible.


  • Humour and Innuendo

It is worth highlighting that the use of humour and innuendo will not mitigate the use of harmful gender stereotypes or objectification of women. A poster for an artificial grass supplier featuring pun-laden text, underneath which featured an image of a women wearing only thong-style underwear, was deemed by the ASA to be irresponsible and likely to cause serious offence.


  • Animated characters

The use of animated imagery will not get you off the hook as far as causing serious offence is concerned and has been the subject of a number of recent ASA rulings. The ASA found that in paid-for in-game advertising for a mobile app, the appearance of the female characters and the scenarios in which they featured depicted them as sexual objects, stripped of any agency or personality in their portrayal as entirely obedient to the player’s command.


Source: CAP


Need A Regulatory Marketing Compliance Consultant? A Bit More About Us


How we can help

LS Consultancy are experts in Marketing and Compliance, and work with a range of firms to assist with improving their documents, processes and systems to mitigate any risk.


We provide a cost-effective and timely bespoke copy advice and copy development services to make sure all your advertising and campaigns are compliant, clear and suitable for their purpose.


Our range of innovative solutions can be tailored to suit your unique requirements, no matter whether you’re currently working from home, or are continuing to go into the office. Our services can be deployed individually or combined to form a broader solution to release your energies and focus on your clients.


Contact us today for a chat or send us an email to find out how we can support you in meeting your current and future challenges with confidence.


Explore our full range today.


Contact us


Call Us Today on 020 8087 2377 or send us an email.



Connect with us via social media and drop us a message from there. We’d love to hear from you and discuss how we can help.


Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | X (formally Twitter) | YouTube


Contact us