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Victorian Womens Health Atlas

Gender Inequality In Advertising

Our everyday lives are saturated with advertisements, which consciously and unconsciously shape our beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours. Alongside other forms of media, advertising shapes and reinforces gendered ideas about what it means to be a woman or man and how women and men are valued in our society.

Research shows that advertising has historically under-represented girls and women and depicted them in stereotyped ways, and that, over time, portrayals of girls and women have become more sexualised and objectifying. These depictions have negative impacts on women’s health and wellbeing, contribute to the attitudes and behaviours that drive violence against women, and help to perpetuate gender inequality in our society more broadly.

Because advertising is so influential, it also has the potential to positively transform gender norms and to support and normalise gender equality. For many years, community groups, academics and industry activists – including Women’s Health Victoria – have been raising awareness about stereotyping and sexualisation in advertising, and advocating for change.

In an Australian first, Women’s Health Victoria has been funded by the Victorian Government to engage industry, businesses, regulators, academics, activists and community members to build support for action to end sexism in advertising. To deliver this project, we are collaborating with expert partners Our Watch, Domestic Violence Victoria, RMIT University, City of Melbourne, Collective Shout and Venus Comms.

Read our issues paper

Advertising (in)equality: the impacts of gender inequality in advertising on women's health and wellbeing

Get involved

If you are interested in joining the Project Reference Group, fill in the expression of interest form here .

For general enquiries please contact the Senior Project Officer.

More information on this project is available here.

Content Reviewed: 06 December 2018
Last Updated: 06 December 2018