This is how advertisers and the United Nations are working together to end sexist ads

If an advertisement has ever made you feel less than human, you’re not alone – ads can be notorious for sexualizing, objectifying, and condescending to women. It’s for these reasons that the United Nations is partnering with major ad agencies and companies to combat stereotypes in advertising.

U.N. Women, alongside companies like Johnson & Johnson, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, is launching the Unstereotype Alliance. They announced the launch on Thursday at the Cannes Lions conference.

“Every day, hundreds of millions of people around the world are exposed to the communications our industry creates, said Martin Sorrell, chief executive of major ad company WPP, to HuffPost. “That influence can either be used to reinforce negative stereotypes or to set new standards of empowerment and equality.

We can teach our girls that they can grow up to be scientists if they want to, but ad messaging can subconsciously steer them away as they grow. Similarly, if young boys continually come into contact with ads that treat women as subhuman, how likely are they to listen to our urges that women and girls must be treated with respect?

Business, obviously, plays a role in this partnership as well: Women make as much as 85 percent of household purchasing decisions, and we’ve seen a sharp increase for demand in better ad representation and equality in recent years.

This speaks to the power of the consumer. When we demand what we want, companies need to listen – or risk fading away into extinction.

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