(Stockholm, 21 October 2013) During the summer, the Swedish Women’s Lobby carried out a survey of how young people experience sexist and stereotypical advertising, and how it affects their well-being. 1000 young women and men between the ages of 13-30 participated. The results show that nine out of ten Swedish girls have at some point felt bad about their weight or looks because of advertising! 87 per cent claim that ads have made them want to change something about themselves and 98 per cent of the girls believe that sexist and gender stereotypical ads can contribute or directly cause low self-esteem.
The results clearly show that sexist advertising has an enormous impact on women’s health and well-being. It affects women’s view of themselves, but also men’s view of women in general. The fact that sexist advertising is widespread in the public sphere counteracts societies commitment to achieve gender equality.
We need to act now! In order to put pressure on politicians, the advertising industry and companies the Swedish Women’s Lobby now launches the campaign Ad Watch - a campaign aimed against sexist and gender stereotypical images of women in advertising. The campaign mainly takes place on social media platforms and urges people to make their voice heard and act against sexist advertising. They can do this by photographing sexist advertising and send it to Ad Watch. We then report it to the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman and contact the company behind the ad.
Through the campaign, the Swedish Women’s Lobby will also work to draft legislation on sexist advertising. Sweden has chosen a self-regulative system with an authority linked to the European Advertising Standard Alliance (EASA) and does not have legislation on the matter. Corporations, associations and citizens can report ads on different basis to the authority, which either acquit or convict the ad. This type of authority is common throughout the European countries and is appointed by the industry and commercial world itself. The only penalty for the convicted ads is "name and shame", and no other sanctions are given. This self-regulation has not proved to be effective on minimizing sexist ads. More has to be done and people have to react. This is why we now launch the campaign Ad Watch.
Read more about our campaign at http://sverigeskvinnolobby.se/en/project/reklamkoll/