Only 21 per cent of the ads released over Diwali broke stereotypes and portrayed women in a positive light according to a white paper issued by Engendered.
Even though 37 per cent of rural women are making purchase decisions on their own, and 20 per cent of the leadership positions occupied by women, only 17 of the 80 ads it analysed attempted to break the confines of traditional gender roles. 38 of the 80 ads stuck to gender stereotypes, while the remaining were neutral and didn’t further stereotypes.
According to findings by economists Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande, Laurie Beaman and Petia Topalova, young girls are impacted in a positive manner when they see women leaders as the role model effect is very strong.
For ads for mobile phone, TV, washing machine, dish TV, AC, water purifiers, grills, toasters, utensils, plywood. Out of the 17 ads analysed in this category, 15 showed a case of gender bias. Kitchen items were represented by female as well as male models. The male models were posing with them while women were typically shown using them.
In the auto sector, out of the 11 ads only two showed women in positive light. This despite, in the past five years, the percentage of women among car buyers has nearly doubled, to 10-12 per cent from about six per cent.
Advertisements for home loans, credit and debit cards, insurance and payment gateways were fairly gender neutral. The larger bias of money being the world for men was prevalent in these ads. Credit and debit cards had women selling them. While ‘investment ads’ had men as protagonists taking care of financial planning. Loans for entrepreneurs had both women and men while home loans typically had only men. Ads about financial support schemes by government stuck to traditional gender roles.
For ads by brands in the web based delivery and shopping services, quite a lot of them had a social cause that would appeal to the millennials. But even then, only a few tried to break the confines of gender stereotypes. Overall the ads were definitely more progressive than the average appliances ad.
Advertisements for clothing lines, designers, clothing stores and shoes showed festive clothes are reserved for women, while sportswear is reserved for men. From the 11 analysed ads only three made an attempt to smash patriarchy.
In the FMCG, home décor, retail and food sector, male ambassadors pose with the food products while female models are shown cooking using the products. While FMCG products have progressive issues being discussed, they stick to the societally defined gender roles.
For ads in the jewellery space, high value goods such as gold depict a male gifting to the female – wife, daughter etc. This despite the 60 per cent women were consulted during purchasing decisions back in 2006. In 2016 this number increased to 73 per cent.
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