Resources and research


Resources for your workplace to help you start conversations and create change in the industry.

Female Stereotypes in Advertising: shEqual’s guide to identifying and challenging gender stereotypes in ads

There is a lot of talk about gender stereotypes, and most of us agree they should be avoided. But brands and agencies tell shEqual they still have questions. This ‘how to’ guide unpacks the what, why, when, and how of gender stereotypes to help brands and agencies push past them and build characters that are authentic and representative of the audiences advertised to.

Created with the shEqual reference group, this guide breaks down the seven common female stereotypes seen in ads today: The Model Mother, The Passive Little Girl, The Observed Woman, The Sexualised Woman, The Pretty Face, The Magical Grandmother and The Ticked Box — plus we look at who’s missing from ads altogether.

Designed to start conversations and create change in the advertising industry. Download below to learn more and share with your workplace to take steps towards equality in advertising.

Download here


The shEqual Survey Snapshot Results

Nearly 600 advertising professionals from around Australia responded to the survey, demonstrating a high level of interest in issues of gender equality, including among men, who made up 41% of respondents.

Preliminary results of this landmark national survey were launched on the 7th of December at an online event, Bold & Strong: Presenting the shEqual Survey results and a snapshot of the results can be downloaded here. This survey provides the evidence behind what the industry already knows – gender inequality remains pervasive in the Australian advertising industry.

The full report will be available in mid-2022 but you can download the snapshot report now.

Download here

Gender Equality in Advertising & Communications Guidelines for Local Government

Partnering with the City of Melbourne and developed with people from across local government areas in Victoria, we have written these guidelines for communications and marketing staff across
council departments.

With six principles and practical tips to implement in local government procedures, this document will ensure you achieve gender equality in every aspect of your marketing, communications and advertising campaigns.

Download guidelines


shEqual was created from years of research into the effects of advertising conducted by Women’s Health Victoria and RMIT

Community responses to gender portrayals in advertising: a research paper

Gurrieri L, McKenzie M, Bugden M.
Published: 29 October 2019
This study explores the responses of Victorian community members to gender portrayals in advertising.


Addressing and preventing sexist advertising: a snapshot of promising practice

Barr M, McKenzie M.
Published: 29 October 2019
This research summary provides a snapshot of the analysis undertaken by RMIT’s Dr Lauren Gurrieri and Dr Rob Hoffman – Addressing and preventing sexist advertising: An analysis of local and global promising practice – which considers how problematic gender portrayals in advertising can be addressed.


Advertising (in)equality: the impacts of sexist advertising on women’s health and wellbeing

McKenzie M, Bugden M, Webster A, Barr M
Published: December 2018
The aim of this issues paper is to provide an overview of significant literature currently published on the nature of gender portrayals in advertising, and the impacts of these representations on women’s health and wellbeing, gender inequality and attitudes and behaviours that support violence against women.