By Claire Zillman
July 19, 2017

Britain’s advertising watchdog group announced yesterday that it will ban sexist ads, such as spots that depict women as solely responsible for cleaning or ones that show men as clumsy parents.

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) undertook what it considers the most comprehensive review of gender stereotyping anywhere in the world and found that “a tougher line is needed on ads that feature stereotypical gender roles or characteristics which can potentially cause harm, including ads which mock people for not conforming to gender stereotypes.”

The ASA will relay its findings to its sister body, the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP), which writes the U.K. advertising codes. The CAP will then develop new standards that will be enforced by the ASA.

This effort is reminiscent of the initiative undertaken by some of the world’s biggest players in advertising in June. At the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, an ad industry conference, Unilever co-convened—along with UN Women—the inaugural session of the Unstereotype Alliance whose members—Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, Diageo, AT&T—vowed to try to proactively address and eliminate stereotypes in advertising globally. Facebook, Google, and Twitter also sent representatives to the meeting, as did major ad agencies IPG and WPP.

The difference between the two approaches is that ASA’s has some serious teeth. In the past, the watchdog has blocked ads for over-airbrushing—a L’Oreal campaign featuring actress Julia Roberts fell victim to that standard in 2011—and for featuring models that are too thin. Last year, it deemed a Gucci ad “irresponsible” for showing a “unhealthily thin” model.

That is a fate that companies desperately want to avoid. “There is a great stigma among advertisers of having complaints over one of their ads upheld by the ASA,” Lindsey Clay, CEO of Thinkbox, the marketing body for television advertising in the U.K. told the Financial Times. “This is a big wake-up call for the advertising industry.”

@clairezillman

The final day of Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech conference will feature NBC News chief affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell and Evertoon CEO Niniane Wang. Be sure to tune in.


EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Long and short of it
A video showing a woman walking around the Saudi province of Ushayqir in a crop top and miniskirt has prompted her arrest and demands that she face trial for violating the kingdom’s rule that women cover themselves in public with an abaya. Others, meanwhile, suggest that her behavior was brave.
Fortune
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Take it to the bank
Britain unveiled its new £10 note featuring Jane Austen yesterday, the 200th anniversary of the author’s death. She becomes the first female writer—following in the footsteps of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens—to appear on the currency. But Austen enthusiasts may take issue with the quote that accompanies her likeness. “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” seems like a good choice, but it was actually said by one of Austen’s most deceitful characters, Caroline Bingley, who has no interest in books.
Fortune

THE AMERICAS

Forces at play
At Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech summit yesterday, Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis spelled out the challenge of making toys for children born in the iPad– and Instagram–age. Simply throwing tech into toys isn’t the answer, she said. “We have to figure out a way to integrate the two.”
Fortune
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A taxing process
At a town hall on diversity and inclusion at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Tech conference yesterday, Laura Weidman Powers, CEO of nonprofit Code2040, spoke about the oft-overlooked “tax on women,” as in the need to deflect unwanted sexual advancements or the exhausting mental gymnastics of making sure to speak up enough at work—without speaking up too much. Entrepreneur Niniane Wang, who last month publicly accused then-Binary Capital partner Justin Caldbeck of sexual harassment, gave her own example of such a burden. She said she put 100 hours of work into the process of outing Caldbeck to ensure she got “a predator out of a position of power.”
Fortune
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No problem!
A new SurveyMonkey poll provides new insight into the tech industry’s nagging gender gap: a majority of men—58%—think all obstacles to gender equality have been eliminated, while 38% say some barriers remain in place. Women see it differently; their responses were essentially reversed, 36% and 60%, respectively.
Fortune
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Republican revenge
The Republicans’ latest plan to repeal Obamacare without a replacement doesn’t have enough support to pass because Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) say they’ll vote against it. It’s notable that three women have the final say considering the GOP froze all of its female members out of the initial working group on the matter, selecting 13 men instead.
Vox

ASIA-PACIFIC

Losing a dual
The Australian senator who drew acclaim for breastfeeding in parliament has resigned after disclosing her previously unknown dual Canadian citizenship. Australia bars citizens of other countries from running for federal parliament. Larissa Waters said she was “devastated” at having to step down. 
Fortune
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Star power
Park Makrye, a 70-year-old grandmother, is one of South Korea’s hottest YouTube stars, having attracted a massive following with videos that show—rather candidly—her life as a senior citizen. Young viewers find her so endearing that Samsung has enlisted her as a model in a YouTube commercial for its TV.
Associated Press

IN BRIEF

Merriam-Webster dictionary trolls sexist ‘Doctor Who’ fans with another sassy tweet
Fortune
This woman is trying to figure out why so many Americans still die in childbirth
The Cut
Afghan girls’ robotics team won visas. Now for the real contest.
New York Times
Spain’s La Vuelta cycle race changes ‘sexist’ hostess role
BBC

PARTING WORDS

"I’m seeing these young women come up, rise up."
- —OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles, dismissing as 'bullshit' the notion that women in tech don't support each other.

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