AA and IPA slam European Commission over gender discrimination proposals

The Advertising Association (AA) and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) have slammed European Commission proposals to outlaw gender discrimination in advertising.

The proposal is likely to include stereotypical advertising, such as the offer of cheaper insurance rates for women.

The directive is the brainchild of Anna Diamantopoulou, commissioner for employment and social affairs. The European Union has already passed legislation preventing gender discrimination in the workplace and is looking to extend this.

An EU spokeswoman confirmed the draft directive had passed internal legal and technical hurdles and would be put to the other commissioners. It is believed the Directorate General for education and culture, which looks after advertising, will oppose the move. It will then need political approval from EU heads of state and the European Parliament.

The AA and IPA say they are baffled by the proposal and have not been consulted. IPA legal director Marina Palomba says: “This proposal is in its earliest stage and I do not believe it will progress without substantial amendment and consultation.”

Many insurers offer women cheaper car insurance, as they have fewer accidents, but lower incomes in retirement because of women’s greater life expectancy. The Association of British Insurers says it has already written to the commission about the proposals and will lobby hard against them.

Diamond Insurance, a brand of Admiral Insurance specialising in offering cheaper car insurance to women, says it has no plans to change the way it markets its products and says it does not exclude men.

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