To address gender inequality in advertising, Women’s Health Victoria, commissioned Ellis Jones to develop a new national strategy.
Learn more about this project
Advertising is a multi-billion-dollar industry designed to change us. And it’s everywhere. We see more than 5000 ads, on average, every day. These ads do more than sell us products – they tell us stories about who we are and who we could or should become – as individuals and as a society. And, too often, being a woman in an ad means being a sex object, a mum, a stereotype, a prop, or someone not able to think or choose for herself. To address gender inequality in advertising, Women’s Health Victoria, commissioned Ellis Jones to develop a new national strategy.
When people use advertising’s sexist and limited representations to understand gender, the ideas they are left with are, at best, limiting. At worst, they are dangerous. Changing these representations, requires shifts to industry culture, regulation and policy. We also need to empower the community to advocate for change.
To develop a strategy, Ellis Jones reviewed commissioned research on sexist advertising and conducted interviews and workshops with industry representatives to understand the many factors that contribute to sexist advertising. We also brought together advertising industry representatives from media buyers to clients to creatives to consider their role in shifting portrayals of women in advertising.
These insights were used to develop Seeing is Believing: A national framework for championing gender equality in advertising. Several rounds of industry consultation were held as part of the refinement of the final strategy.
Our Design Studio then worked with Women’s Health Victoria to develop a new brand for Shequal, alongside a new website.
Launched in November 2020 by the Minister for Women, the Hon. Gabrielle Williams MP, Seeing is Believing is the first coordinated effort in Australia to promote gender equality and address the drivers of violence within the advertising setting.
The framework sets a roadmap for change and is now being used to engage directly with industry, business, regulators, academics and community members to build support for action to end sexism in the media and in advertising. Seeing is Believing forms a foundation for policymakers, industry leaders and the public to make the changes necessary to end sexist advertising.