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False advertising

Some adverts support gender equality, but others still have work to do. Put yourself in the director’s chair – what would you change?
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Device to show photos, videos, or slides

Watch some ads

  1. The person leading the activity should show everyone some examples of adverts that challenge or reinforce gender stereotypes.
  1. Everyone should chat about the adverts. What were their messages? Which stereotypes where challenged? Which were reinforced?
  1. Everyone should talk about why adverts matter. They might think about how they reflect a culture but also reinforce beliefs by presenting them as acceptable, even if they’re trying to be funny.

Find some ads

  1. Everyone should get into small groups.
  2. Each group should try to find other examples of adverts that challenge or maintain stereotypes. They should try to find some from other countries too.
  1. Everyone should think about how the adverts make them feel. How do they feel when they see a stereotype being challenged? What about when they’re maintained?
  1. Everyone should think about what they’d change if there were in charge of re-shooting the advert.
  2. Each group should take it in turns to show their advert to everyone else. They should explain what’s good or bad about it, and what they’d change if they were in charge.


This activity was about caring. What impact can adverts have when they challenge or reinforce gender stereotypes? Do adverts have the power to affect the real world? For example, how would men feel if every advert, TV show, and film portrayed them as rubbish at looking after pets? Do people think fewer men might end up buying pets? What would people start to believe about men’s ability to look after pets? What real world issues did the adverts feature? How might they help other people? For example, an advert that encourages women to take part in sport might help women feel empowered to give it a go.

This activity was also about being a citizen. What can people do if they see something that isn’t right, such as gender stereotyping? People could think about how they could complain and highlight when things are wrong (for example, Ofcom has information about complaining about ads on TV or radio). What else could people do? People might think about the importance of leading by example and choosing to be supportive and inclusive with what they do. Were people surprised by the issues that appeared in the adverts from other countries? Is gender equality a global issue?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.