While the presence of women in ads was comparable to men, sticky stereotypes prevail. 58% of women are portrayed with fair skin tones versus 25% of men on-screen.
39% of women were shown with less diverse physical appearances versus 16% of men on-screen.
17.5% of women were depicted as the sole caregiver and in traditional, less authoritative roles as against 3.5% men characters, with male characters three times more authoritative than their female counterparts.
Women also tended to be shown as younger with 86% of them between 20 and 39 years of age compared to 62% of men.
The report also highlighted the positive aspects such as gender presence is now not an issue, with 2X solo female presence ads seen in non-Hindi advertisements relative to Hindi ads.
Manisha Kapoor, CEO and secretary-general, ASCI, said, “There is no doubt that advertising shapes society. Indian advertising is missing the diverse and inclusive narratives that can provide a real edge to brands, as can be seen in the study. Along with The Unstereotype Alliance and other partners, ASCI would like to nudge and support the advertising industry in getting its DEI representation right. The opportunity to include diverse perspectives and stories is a powerful one, and the event showcases the immense benefits both brands and society can derive from such progressive inclusions.”
Susan, Fergusan, country representative, UN Women, said, “Over the past two years, the Unstereotype Alliance in India has united brands, organisations, and individuals who believe in the transformative influence of advertising and media in fostering an inclusive society. Our efforts transcend campaigns; we strive to dismantle stereotypes, fostering a cultural shift that champions diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry."
The research scoured through ads that aired in October 2023, coupled with Kantar’s analysis of advertisements over the past few years.