09/03/2008 05:47 PM

Getting Rid of Gender Stereotypes

EU Parliament Calls for Less Sexism in Advertising

Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday voted in favor of a report which calls on advertisers to stop portraying men and women in tradition gender roles.

MEPs want to see fewer housewives in advertising.

MEPs want to see fewer housewives in advertising.

European lawmakers are concerned that the way women and men are portrayed in marketing and advertising is making it more difficult to dispell old-fashioned ideas of traditional gender roles.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Wednesday adopted a new report that calls on member states to make a greater effort to monitor how gender is portrayed in advertising. Constant images of women in the kitchen while men clean their cars outside are reinforcing sexist stereotypes, the study argues.

The non-legally binding report, which was drafted by Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson, also calls on EU institutions to monitor the implementation of existing European laws on sex discrimination.

"MEPs call on the EU institutions and member states to develop awareness actions against sexist insults or degrading images of women and men in advertising and marketing," the lawmakers said in a statement after adopting the report by 504 votes in favor, 110 against and 22 abstentions.

The report also called on the media and advertising to set good examples from a gender perspective.

Before the vote, Svensson told the German news agency DPA that people are often not aware of how much they are influenced by advertising. "When women and men are portrayed in a stereotypical way the consequence may be that it becomes difficult in other contexts to see women and men's resources and abilities in areas other than those of the traditional gender roles."

smd -- with wire reports


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