On 13 February 2014, WECAMS met with the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA) once again to urge them to act in the following areas:
– EASA should commit to respecting the European Parliament resolution that prohibits sexual stereotyping in media;
– EASA should make clear recommendations to its members to end assessments of advertising according to ‘taste and decency’ criteria; they should assess them with reference to equalities legislation;
– EASA members should include clear definitions in their codes of sexual objectification and sexual stereotyping, along with criteria to identify these and explanations of why they are harmful;
– EASA members should liaise with women’s groups to develop more robust codes (or have women experts on juries or committees).
EASA representatives responded that the network has no code of its own; each self-regulatory organization (SRO) has its own code and EASA’s recommendations are non-binding. Additionally, the level of control that the European SROs have varies from country to country. Advertising is rarely vetted prior to broadcast or publication, for example. WECAMS urged EASA to use its influence and play its role of standard-setting and promoting best practice. We agreed that there may be opportunities for WECAMS to deliver training for the SROs on what constitutes harmful and discriminatory content, as well as sexual stereotyping and we are currently identifying opportunities to provide such training to the maximum number of advertising regulators.