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Freedom of expression vs. Gender equality – conflicting values when regulating gender stereotypes in advertising

Journal article
Authors Eva-Maria Svensson
Maria Edström
Published in Tidsskrift for Rettsvitenskap
Volume 127
Issue 5/2014
Pages 479–511
ISSN 0040-7143
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Department of Law
Pages 479–511
Language en
Keywords gender equality, gender stereotypes in advertising, freedom of expression, CEDAW
Subject categories Jurisprudence, Media and Communications, Gender Studies


The persistence of negative gender stereotypes, even in more gender-equal and progressive Scandinavian countries, has been pointed out as an obstacle to the achievement of gender equality. Gender equality is a fundamental condition for the full enjoyment of human rights by women and men, and the promotion of gender equality is a worldwide obligation. According to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), gender stereotypes are considered a form of discrimination against women that States parties must take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify. This article focuses on legal and political measures undertaken (or not undertaken) by States parties on gender stereotypes in advertisements. So far, many States parties have been reluctant to legislate against gender stereotypes in advertising, referring to freedom of expression as an obstacle. Instead they prefer self-regulation, even though such efforts may be questioned in terms of efficiency. Sweden is used as the case, of specific relevance due to its explicit commitment to both freedom of expression and gender equality.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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