Reality Check: New Equality Measure Targets Gender Bias in Ads and Media

Association of National Advertisers Shares #SeeHer GEM™ (Gender
Equality Measure) Methodology with Advertising Research Community

17,000-plus ads have been evaluated using GEM to assess
realistic and accurate portrayal of girls and women in advertising and

GEM™ brings equality into established pre- and post-testing equation

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gender bias is bad for business. Research proves that ads and
entertainment in which women and girls are accurately portrayed generate
significantly more awareness, recall, and purchase intent than ads in
which they are not. Now the Association of National Advertisers’
Alliance for Family Entertainment (ANA AFE) has given the industry a
potent, new, data-driven methodology to identify — and eliminate —
gender bias.

At today’s Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) annual conference, ANA
and leadership from its #SeeHer initiative shared the insights gleaned
from, and questions used in, their Gender Equality Measure (GEM™)
module, which helps business leaders make better decisions by addressing
unconscious bias within media and programming.

The ANA AFE, a collective of the nation’s largest advertisers, launched
the #SeeHer initiative last year in partnership with The Female Quotient
(TFQ) to increase the accurate portrayal of women and girls in
advertising and media by 20 percent by 2020, the 100th
anniversary of women gaining the right to vote.

Aiding the advancement toward the 2020 goal, the GEM™ module measures
ads and programming to help marketers improve planning choices and ROI.
Since last summer, GEM™ has been used to evaluate over 17,000 ads, which
the ANA believes constitutes the largest syndicated post-test in
history. The research was conducted by AFE syndicated research partner
Advertising Benchmark Index (ABX).

GEM™ measures perceptions of how female actors are portrayed in the
media by asking consumers four key questions:

  • What is the overall opinion of the female presented?
  • Is she portrayed respectfully?
  • Is she depicted inappropriately?
  • Is she seen as a positive role model for women and girls?

“We are leading the #SeeHer movement for our industry because it makes
good business sense and is good for society,” noted ANA CEO Bob Liodice.
“Looking at the stats of post-test ads just last week, we are pleased to
see that 80 percent of the highest scoring GEM ads are ANA members’
spots. Of course that represents a moment in time, but it clearly
indicates that the #SeeHer movement is raising the awareness of
marketers. It is a good start. We must get to the point that no CMO will
run any ad that shows gender bias.”

“The GEM™ measure will add a new dimension of equality to our research
suite of industry standards which currently includes awareness, recall,
purchase intent, and likeability,” said Shelley Zalis, #SeeHer
co-founder and founder and CEO of TFQ. “We know that women do not lack
confidence, but the media lacks confidence in its portrayal of women. We
can only treasure what we can measure, so we are sharing GEM™ with the
research industry.”

Sharing the GEM™ methodology is the latest undertaking of an ongoing
initiative to support marketer and media efforts to create content that
is free of gender bias. The initiative has developed toolkits for
advertisers to create unbiased messaging. In January, boot camps to
teach #SeeHer members how to eliminate gender bias began.

“There are compelling insights that support SeeHer. Forty percent of
women don’t identify with the women they see in ads; 90 percent of
parents are concerned about TV programming, that there are no role
models for girls; yet women make 85 percent of all consumer purchase
decisions.” Stephen Quinn, ANA AFE chairman concluded, “We are all
trying to become more customer-centric and these data show we have a
distance to go. CMOs have an obligation to maximize marketing ROI and
seize control over their brand by eliminating bias in their ads and
ensuring their media buys include environments in which women and girls
are portrayed the way they really are.”

About the #SeeHer Initiative

Despite the strides made to accurately portray women and women in the
media, an unconscious bias persists against women and girls in
advertising, media, and programming The Association of National
Advertisers (ANA) Alliance for Family Entertainment (AFE) launched the
#SeeHer initiative in June 2016 in a joint partnership with The Female
Quotient (TFQ’s) Girl’s Lounge, at the White House as part of the United
State of Women event. The #SeeHer Initiative mission is to accurately
portray all women and girls in media by 2020, the 100th
anniversary of women winning the right to vote. For more information,
follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


The ANA (Association of National Advertisers) makes a difference for
individuals, brands, and our marketing community by advancing the
interests of marketers and promoting and protecting the well-being of
the marketing industry. Founded in 1910, the ANA provides leadership
that advances marketing excellence and shapes the future of the
industry. The ANA’s membership includes more than 1,000 companies with
15,000 brands that collectively spend or support more than $250 billion
in marketing and advertising annually. The membership is comprised of
more than 700 client-side marketers and nearly 250 Associate Members,
which include leading agencies, law firms, suppliers, consultants, and
vendors. Further enriching the ecosystem is the work of the nonprofit
Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF), an ANA subsidiary. The AEF’s
mission is to enhance the understanding of advertising and marketing
within the academic and marketing communities.


Association of National Advertisers
Patty Kerr, 310-344-4487