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EU Parliament wants to end sexism advertisements

4 September 2008

BRUSSELS — European lawmakers are calling on advertisers to stop reinforcing gender stereotypes by constantly portraying women cleaning the kitchen and men polishing their cars.

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.

The lawmakers adopted the report with 504 votes in favor, 110 against and 22 abstentions.

"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," lawmakers said in a statement.

Left-wing Swedish MEP Eva-Britt Svensson, who drafted the non-legally binding report, said such gender stereotyping by advertisers was particularly worrying since not everybody realises how much they are influenced by such advertisements.

"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," Svensson said.

"In the same way young, girls and boys are influenced in their choices of education and career."

The MEPs also rejected similar calls for advertisers to stop using extremely thin women as role models and to use a "more realistic range of body images" instead.

[dpa / Expatica]