The image of women in advertising : main elements of the regulatory framework

19-01-2012

The demeaning portrayal of women in advertising, often criticised by women's rights associations, has negative so­cial effects in terms of equality between the gen­ders, and for public health. This delicate issue is regulated mostly at national level in the European Union. Indeed, even if political interest in this issue is reflected in the work of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, there are relatively few binding legal acts at international or European level concerning this issue. Each Member State sets out its own regulatory framework, which often mixes legislation with self-regulation developed by the media and advertising sectors themselves. This solution is also advocated in the Audiovisual Media Directive, the only binding EU act which prohibits gender-based discrimi­na­tion in advertisements. The national frame­works differ from each other in the legal instruments used and in the specific provisions included in legal acts. Codes of self-regulation tend to have greater similarities, as they are of­ten elaborated on the basis of the Inter­national Chamber of Commerce Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice.

The demeaning portrayal of women in advertising, often criticised by women's rights associations, has negative so­cial effects in terms of equality between the gen­ders, and for public health. This delicate issue is regulated mostly at national level in the European Union. Indeed, even if political interest in this issue is reflected in the work of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, there are relatively few binding legal acts at international or European level concerning this issue. Each Member State sets out its own regulatory framework, which often mixes legislation with self-regulation developed by the media and advertising sectors themselves. This solution is also advocated in the Audiovisual Media Directive, the only binding EU act which prohibits gender-based discrimi­na­tion in advertisements. The national frame­works differ from each other in the legal instruments used and in the specific provisions included in legal acts. Codes of self-regulation tend to have greater similarities, as they are of­ten elaborated on the basis of the Inter­national Chamber of Commerce Code of Advertising and Marketing Communication Practice.