Back to Explore

shEqual Round Up

March 2024



Bringing you the ads that get real and the ads that need to get equal.
The only newsletter that takes a critical look at gender and diversity in advertising today. 

This month we talk about an excellent ad breaking out of its category stereotypes, and we look closer at a billboard ad that was emailed in to us.

But first, places for our event are running out fast. Keep reading to see how you can reserve your spot before it sells out!

Places for our first panel event of 2024 are going fast!

Join us on Wednesday 17 April with a panel of industry leaders for an inspiring discussion on harnessing the power of socially responsible, creative, and progressive advertising.

Date: Wednesday 17 April, 2024
Time: 6.00pm – 8.30pm
Location: MicDrop South Melbourne, Level 5, 111 Cecil St, South Melbourne, VIC  

This is a free event and spaces are limited, so secure your attendance now by RSVPing now! 

Register here

Get Equal
Ads from this month that are setting the standard by getting equal

Assume That I Can international campaign smashes stereotypes about people with Down Syndrome 

On World Down Syndrome Day, March 21, 2024, CoorDown – the National Coordination of Associations of People with Down syndrome – launched the international awareness campaign “ASSUME THAT I CAN”. It calls on everyone to put an end to prejudice and support the concrete potential of each person who has Down syndrome. 

The international campaign started with CoorDown, in Italy but sees the contribution of several international associations that are simultaneously launching the film worldwide, including Down Syndrome Australia. 

There is enormous potential for everyone when we actively work on understanding our own conscious and unconscious biases. Whether it’s our biases about the expectations and roles we place on women, people living with disabilities, LGBTQI+ people or men, we can all live freer and fuller lives without stereotypes. 

Epijoint breaks out of it’s tired, stereotupical category and creates something fun, exciting and gender equal

“Nutraceutical ads can be a hodgepodge of drab testimonials and elderly people happily walking along the beach. For its brand launch, Epijoint wanted to throw out these tired old category notions and show exactly the kind of refreshing movement its product fosters.” 

In our article on femvertising, we discussed how ads directed at women were often about how the product would “fix” a woman’s appearance or lifestyle but “advertisers show men how their products can work for their lifestyle and treat the consumer as smart enough to decide if it does or not.” 

This ad isn’t about a “fix”, it’s about an enhancement of someone’s life, showing this woman discovering a new hobby and passion that Epijoint can open up for her.  

Big gender equality bonus points for showing a woman absolutely nailing a traditionally male-dominated hobby too! 

In just 30 seconds, San Remo’s ‘We’re Family’ ad via Emotive effectively challenges stereotypes, promotes inclusivity, and showcases progressive and diverse family dynamics.

The male character recognises his family’s disconnected and brings them together by preparing a meal for everyone. Shifting away from the assumption and expectation that emotional and household labour is solely a woman’s role.

More ads that are getting equal: 

Have you released a new ad that is getting equal?
Let us know so we can feature it in our next newsletter! 

Get Real
Ads from this month that need to get real

This ad was sent to us after being spotted on a billboard on Toorak Road in Melbourne.  

This image was taken in 1976 by Melbourne based photographer Rennie Ellis (dec. 2003). While some might see it as an iconic photo from Toorak Road, the shEqual team question it’s use in a 2024 property development advertisement, placed in a high traffic public space.  

While some may consider it art, we feel that ads that use imagery like this are demeaning towards women, implying that a woman’s body would be a selling point for this company. Research shows images that objectify or sexualise women in public spaces make those spaces less safe for women. It sends the message that it’s okay to objectify all women, and see them as less worthy of respect than men, which could lead to street harassment or violence towards women. Email us at to share your perspective on the use of this ‘iconic’ photo in a 2024 advertisement.  

If you see an ad that you think is sexist, we encourage you to report it to Ad Standards. You can follow our Reporting Toolkit here

Australian advertisements should reflect the reality of the diversity of family dynamics. Including working mothers, nurturing fathers, and rainbow families, just to name a few. However, many ads, like the recent Kellogg’s Corn Flakes ad and Australian Eggs campaign, perpetuate outdated gender stereotypes. Depicting only women in the kitchen and as the sole caretakers. While there are some attempts to challenge these stereotypes, for example Kellogg’s featuring a female truck driver, overall, there’s a need for more meaningful progressive and inclusive portrayals in these ads.  

Get Involved
How you can get involved and take the next step

Make It shEqual Podcast  

This is a podcast empowering advertising to get equal and it is brought to you by the shEqual team Women’s Health Victoria.  

Join our host Sarah Davidson in engaging discussions with industry leaders, including Phoebe Sloane, Irene Joshy, Dalton Henshaw and Hilary Holmes, in exploring how inclusivity drives brand loyalty and success.   

With five fantastic episodes you can look forward to:  

Insightful conversations with industry leaders and experts.  

An exploration of what Australian consumers actually want to see. 

Understanding what it looks like to go beyond the diversity tick to show depth of character and point of view. 

Hearing from the brands who leading the way in authentically representing women and gender diverse people in ads and learn how the approach they are taking benefits the bottom line. 

All 5 episodes are available for listening, you can do this through Apple Podcasts, Spotify or YouTube

Learn more

Women’s Health Victoria has launched two new gender equality online courses from shEqual with a focus on the advertising industry. These short, accessible and interactive courses and are a great introduction to why advertising plays an important role in creating a gender equal world, the impact of sexist advertising and how advertisers can make a change. 

Read more about these upcoming courses below and sign up below to challenge norms and drive positive change. 

Learn more