Gender Bias and Inclusion In Advertising In India



  • Gender Bias and Inclusion In Advertising In India has been released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media (GDI).


  • Male characters are more likely to be shown making decisions about their future than female characters (7.3% compared with 4.8%), the latter are twice as likely to be shown making household decisions than male characters (4.9% compared with 2.0%).
  • Two-thirds of female characters (66.9%) in Indian ads have light or medium-light skin tones—a higher percentage than male characters (52.1%).
  • While girls and women have a strong presence in Indian advertising, they are mostly reinforcing traditional gender roles by selling domestic and beauty products to female consumers.
  • Female characters are nine times more likely to be shown as “stunning/very attractive” than male characters (5.9% compared with 0.6%).
  • Female characters are also invariably thin, but male characters appear with a variety of body sizes in Indian advertising.




  • Sexual objectification has serious consequences in the real world. The more girls and women internalize the idea that their primary value comes from being a sex object, the higher their rates of depression, body hatred and shame, eating disorders, and a host of other personal impacts.
  • Lack of empowering role models for men undertaking domestic work in the home and women working in the paid workforce.


  • Governing Bodies should establish guidelines for advertising with benchmarks for equitable representation for girls and women and promoting positive gender norms, including around leadership and body attitudes.
  • Establish skin color guidelines and caste/class guidelines.
  • Promote diverse templates of beauty rather than regressive beauty norms of women and girls being only fair, thin, etc.
  • Advocate with advertisers to see value add in diversifying representation in gender, skin tone, and caste/class benchmarks to help promote brand equity and expand the consumer base.
  • Content Creators need to be more sensitive and aware towards gender representation.
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