The status quo isn’t working – and advertising is out of balance when it comes to gender, according to Asia-Pacific consumers.

According to the 2019 AdReaction study by WPP research company Kantar, 83% of marketers in APAC believe their organisations are creating advertising that avoids gender stereotypes. However, consumers disagree: for 63% of them, advertising reinforces stereotypes.

“The majority of work we see in this region play into quite conventional storytelling,” observed Ida Siow, executive strategy director of 72andSunny Singapore at the How To Speak Woman: The Asia Edition event. The affair was co-hosted by the advertising firm along with cultural insights consultancy Crowd DNA.

Reductive portrayals of women are not uncommon in advertising, as research by Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has shown. Its analysis of more than 2,000 ads from 2006 to 2016 from the Cannes Lions archive found that men get four times more screen time than women in ads, speak seven times more than women do, and are even twice as likely to be funny. Only one in four women in the ads had a job.