This image, part of a recruitment campaign by the State Bank of Mauritius, shows a group of women and men at their workplace. It is positive, gender aware and shows a good gender balance in the media.
This advertisement may be used to
1. promote an understanding of gender equality at workplace;
2. create awareness on gender issues, more precisely on insensitive media coverage;
3. encourage other advertisers to be gender aware in their advertising; and
4. reflect on issues between men and women at workplace.
This image displays gender awareness. It is about men and women being equal at work and working happily together. The photos that were displayed in the recruitment advertisement show that men and women can work and communicate together.
It is not every day that one sees positive images in advertising about equal working relationships between men and women. In many cases, women in business settings are portrayed as secretaries or personal assistants rather than executives. In this advert, there is no overt suggestion as to each employee’s position, and one can make the assumption that all of the people pictured are on equal footing. Considering it is important to focus not only on the negative adverts, this ad campaign is highlighted as a good example of gender balance in media. Although these images show success and equality between women and men, men are still portrayed in higher numbers than women. The billboard shows three men and two women. In addition, one of the women is placed at the back, and is slightly obscured by the man in front her and a laptop computer. However, these details should not detract from the overall positive message the image sends.
1. What impact could this billboard have on women interested in business?
2. In most images of women in business settings, what positions do they have? Are they often seen to be on equal footing with men?
3. Discuss the positive and negative aspects of this advert? Would an equal number of men and women made it stronger? For the message to be effective is it necessary to have an equal number? Why or why not?
1. Conduct some research into whether advertisers consciously take gender into account when developing new ads.
2. Compare this advert with others around business and the workplace. How are they different? Are there similarities? How often are men and women pictured? What kinds of roles are they portrayed in?
3. Take this advert to people on the street. Ask them what they notice first about the ad. Do people recognise the gender dimensions?
Links to training resources:
Files to download:
Picture our Lives, Gender and Images in Southern Africa, Chapter three: Sex, Gender and Stereotypes http://www.genderlinks.org.za/docs/training/picture-our-lives/pic-ch3.pdf
Gender and Advertising in Southern Africa
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