Gender stereotypes in television advertising in the Middle East: Time for marketers and advertisers to step up

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Business Horizons


© 2020 Kelley School of Business, Indiana University Gender stereotypes, which are particularly harmful to women, have historically been prevalent in advertising, prompting some governments and brands to regulate conventional gender portrayals. This study examines current gender portrayals in television advertising in the Middle East, and specifically in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), because of the increasing importance accorded to women's empowerment in some of these countries. Building on similar studies elsewhere, we analyze the content of 111 distinct television advertisements aired over a week by a major TV channel in the region. Our analysis reveals that while depictions of certain aspects, such as role (familial/nonfamilial) and location (home/occupational setting), gently nudged traditional stereotypes by portraying women in nonfamilial roles and in occupational settings, depictions of background (female/male/children) and product type further reinforced traditional stereotypes. Based on these findings, we offer specific recommendations to marketers and advertisers in the region.

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Author First name, Last name, Institution

Ali Khalil, Zayed University
Ganga S. Dhanesh, Zayed University