EU calls on governments to monitor gender stereotypes in advertising

LONDON - The European Parliament voted today in favour of a report on how marketing affects equality between men and women and perpetuates gender stereotypes. The EU report, drafted by the Women's Rights Committee, was adopted with 504 votes in favour, 110 against and 22 abstentions.

The Committee is calling on member states to launch education initiatives with the aim of ending gender stereotypes, which 'significantly disparages the relationship between men and women'.

'Gender stereotypes often exist in advertising to the financial gain of big business,' says the report. 'It is self-evident that real differences between the sexes should be taken into consideration, but the point of departure must be the realisation that we as humans have more similarities than differences.'

Although not legally binding, the EU will now send a set of recommendations to the government to enforce tighter monitoring of the use of nudity and gender stereotypes in marketing campaigns. Labour MEP Mary Honeyball said it is also possible that the European Commission will use the report to draft new legislation.

MEPs are calling on the EU institutions and member states to develop awareness actions against sexist insults or degrading images of women and men in marketing.

The report also calls on member sates to study and report on the image of women and men in marketing, and for advertisers to consider carefully their use of extremely thin women to advertise products.

‘The European Parliament notes that marketing and advertising portrayals of the ideal body image can adversely affect the self-esteem of women and men, particularly teenagers and those susceptible to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.'

The report also recommends that broadcasters, publishers and advertisers adopt a more responsible editorial attitude toward the depiction of extremely thin women as role models and portray a more realistic range of body images.

The report, written by Eva-Britt Svensson, can be found at the European Parliament website. Paragraphs 9, 15, 18 and 25 have been removed following the final vote.

 

 

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