When it comes to gender equality in media and advertising, great strides have been made over the last several years. Thanks to effective initiatives from organizations including the Association of National Advertisers and Geena Davis Institute, women are better represented in advertising and portrayed in increasingly non-traditional ways.
But this is just the beginning of the journey and a lot remains to be done—including in the authenticity of gender representation. According to the ANA’s SeeHer and Getty Images, 56% of women say they don’t see themselves reflected in women they see in the media. That percentage is even higher for women over 50 (79%), according to YouGov.
One of the most widespread problems is stereotyping—which limits truly original thinking and work.
Stereotypes can help us make sense of the world when we are overwhelmed by the flood of information we have to process. They are useful and often necessary. But they also create unconscious prejudices we carry from a very young age. It’s easy to see how they can negatively affect behavior and judgment.
To address this imbalance, the ad industry has spent a good deal of time abandoning old stereotypes, but might have inadvertently created a troublesome set of new ones.