Only 17 Out of 80 Diwali Ads in 2018 Showed Women in Non-Stereotypical Roles, Study Finds
The study was published by Engendered recently before being shared on Twitter by the women's' rights group Feminism in India. The latter has called for a change in the way Indians create advertisements by misrepresenting gender roles.
A new study has found that despite an increase in the number of women making purchases and influencing consumer decisions, only 21 percent of advertisements this Diwali represented women as independent, high-earning individuals.
According to research conducted by Engendered, only 17 out of 80 advertisements released this Diwali showed women in non-stereotypical roles. The rest either represented them as domestic, performing household chores, cooking and serving food and receiving gifts from male members of their family or otherwise.
Meanwhile, men continued to be depicted as high earners, driving expensive cars, purchasing expensive gifts (often for their wives or sisters) and seemingly in control of purchase.
This, despite the fact that more and more women are participating in decisions related to making purchases. A study conducted by Accenture among rural women living across 10 states in India found that 37 percent rural women interviewed made purchase decisions on their own. The number went up to 40 in case of working women. It also found the 67 percent women had bought branded products.
The bias against women in advertisements spanned categories and products. For example, even though the number of women drivers has almost doubled from six percent to 10-12 percent in the past five years, only two out of eleven auto ads depicted women actually buing or driving a car. Mostly, it was men who drove the cars with women only existing as co-passengers in the ad, if at all.
In advertisements about home appliances, men were depicted as posing with the products whereas the women were actually using it to cook or serve food. And in jewellery ads, it was usually a male character gifting a woman relation gold or other expensive jewellery.
How many ads show men doing domestic chores? Or women not just receiving expensive gifts, but buying them? Or women driving cars?@EngenderedCo studied 80 Diwali ads, and found that only 17 broke away from these stereotypes.Do more ads need to smash gendered stereotypes? pic.twitter.com/PFZNIxmhpj— Feminism in India (@FeminismInIndia) December 5, 2018
The study was published on Campaign India recently before being shared on Twitter by the womens' rights group Feminism in India. The latter has called for a change in the way Indians create advertisements by misrepresenting gender roles. According to a video it shared on Twitter, pop culture and media representations have an intrinsic role to play in shaping perceptions of gender roles and identities. Many on social media agreed that it was finally time to own up to past follies and start creating content which is more meaningful and reflective of the realities of women in India.
good work!— geeta seshu (@geetaseshu) December 5, 2018
How many ads show women doing office works and lectures or school teachers or policemens. Why womens are not acting in such a bold role. Is it just because of money? Who forced women to act in such a role?Why ain't they take any responsibility and simply shout like an uneducated?— Ramji (@sramji1988) December 5, 2018
Huge appreciation @FeminismInIndia & @EngenderedCo for joining the hands & making this video. 👏💐It is absolutely correct & our society needs to change these gendered stereotypes ads. We need more women in workplace. More power to @japna_p & @prajectory #genderequity— Binoy Benny (@binoybenny811) December 5, 2018
Women carry sanitary napkins in dark packets..... a biological product purchase is a shame .... Women are often joked for using husband's credit cards..... amazon India's "aur dikhao" that women never get satisfied....Amidst the above, ads cannot break prevailing stereotypes...— Dr PRAGEETHA G RAJU (@GPrageetha) December 5, 2018
We want them to depict women they way they are, aspirational, doing well in their respective career and living independently. And we have also put the statistics to back that.— Anu (@anu_kaimal) December 6, 2018
Yes, it is time to shatter stereotypes. When we represent women we need to ask which woman is being dipicted and how is her presence in the media challenging the male gaze?— Dr S (@PSYfem) December 5, 2018
I received a private banking ICICI brochure . 15 glossy pages full of pictures of only men- men paying golf, men conducting a business meeting, men playing with a kid, men hanging with dad. Not even ONE pic of a woman, this from a bank previously run by a woman !— Uncommon Common Sense (@wit4yourwords) December 5, 2018
While the past decade has seen a shift toward women-centric content, much of pop culture and popular representations continue to be skewed toward men and tend to show women as financially dependent. While those realities are slowly reflecting a change, advertisements need to do more to ensure the positive trend grows in the coming years.
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