3 in 4 Want to See Female Empowerment in Ads

May 6, 2022

Few women feel that media has made a lot of progress to better represent them in the past decade, and many feel that brands have a lot of responsibility to improve women’s equality. Recent research from ENGINE Insights finds that about three-quarters of American adults either strongly (28%) or somewhat (45%) agree that brands should include female empowerment/feminism in their advertising.

The context behind this is a prevailing belief that ads that show female empowerment have a positive impact on empowering women in the real world – with a resounding 84% agreeing to some extent with this sentiment. Moreover, about 8 in 10 agree that representation of women in advertising has an impact on how women are treated in society.

There’s also broad consensus among the adults surveyed that brands need to be careful about the way they represent women (88% agreeing) and that they expect brands to take a stand on issues impacting women (72% agreeing).

Interestingly, though, only about 1 in 3 (35%) of respondents said that in the past year they’ve been offended by the way women are represented in advertising.

Sadly, the results of the survey suggest stereotypes abound – to the point of sexism – even when dealing with this topic. When respondents were asked the impact on their trust in various categories when a brand features women in their advertising, the percentage of respondents indicating more trust was highest for baby products (45%), household cleaning products (42%) and clothing/apparel (42%). By comparison, respondents were about half as likely to have more trust in brands featuring women in their ads for credit cards (18%), insurance providers (21%), financial services/investment products (23%), and technology products (24%). Never mind that among women in relationships, a survey from HerMoney and the Alliance for Lifetime Income reveals that a majority have primary responsibility for household finances (59%) and investments (51%)…

About the Data: The ENGINE Insights results are based on a February survey of 1,007 adults (18+).


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