Skip to main content

Gender stereotypes and discrimination in advertising – tackled with EU support

Sexist advertising is a hidden form of gender-based violence. The idea was shared by participants in a public dialogue organised on 6 May 2002 by the East Europe Foundation, in collaboration with the Coalition for Inclusion and Non-Discrimination. The event is part of the „Advocacy for better protection against discrimination” project, funded by the European Union and co-funded by Sweden.

According to representatives of the Coalition for Inclusion and Non-Discrimination sexist advertising is offensive and harms human dignity. „Many businesses and manufacturers consciously make use of sexist advertising regardless of the consequences that may follow. The aim of the event is to facilitate dialogue between civil society, authorities and other stakeholders interested in modernising the legal framework to prevent and combat sexist advertising. Urgent measures are needed to avoid abuse in the use of degrading and humiliating methods, which could seriously affect the dignity and honour of a person or a category of persons”, said Gheorghina Drumea, Secretary of the Coalition for Inclusion and Non-discrimination.

„The exploitation of the human body is a shame and a humiliation. I find this marketing approach unacceptable. I am sure there are other ways to promote certain goods and products without resorting to such shameful actions. We should find the necessary tools and take action to stop this trend”, highlighted Sorin Mereacre, President of the East Europe Foundation.

„Sexist advertising is part of a system of discriminatory phenomena, which is why it is very important to tackle them systemically. A new advertising law has recently been approved, which includes clearer and more comprehensive provisions on this phenomenon. Clearly, from now on, it is necessary for civil society and government institutions to act in a consolidated way”,

pointed out Marcela Adam, Member of the Parliamentary Committee on culture, education, research, youth, sport and media.

Gender expert Elena Rățoi believes that

„sexist advertising perpetuates gender stereotypes, which negatively affect both women and men, who are forced to conform to unreal standards.”

Those present at the workshop highlighted the lack of an effective mechanism to prevent and sanction sexist advertising. The present legal framework does not provide for methods and measures to check the content of advertising. The procedure for sanctioning those who commissioned, developed and distributed sexist advertisements is a cumbersome and time-consuming procedure, requiring an inordinate amount of time and involving authorities.

It was concluded that the Republic of Moldova needs better regulation of advertising and its content at state level, as well as of the mechanism for sanctioning those promoting sexist messages, and in particular, the granting to a single competent authority the right to observe and sanction sexist advertising.

Following the event, organised by the East Europe Foundation in collaboration with the Coalition for Inclusion and Non- Discrimination (CIN), in the framework of the “Advocacy for better protection against discrimination” project, the CIN members will prepare a draft amendment to the legal framework and will ask the authorities to make commitments and agree on a clear deadline for the implementation of the recommendations.