SEOUL, KOREA, September 8, 2017 – There are an estimated 12,900 advertisements and promotional materials at subway stations, underground shopping malls, and other public places with large floating population in Seoul. From now on, those advertisements will be reviewed in advance to check if they contain any content against gender equality.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced that it would hold monthly advisory meetings to access the public advertisement’s influential effects on the gender issue to apply the “anti-gender-equality review system” to all of advertisements and promotional materials produced by Seoul Metro and Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corporation.
So far, the SMG has applied the review system only to advertisement materials directly produced by the city government. Through this system, the city government has revised and improved its policies and programs into more gender-friendly and gender equality. For example, after the reviewing meeting, the length of hand straps on the subway trains were changed in two according to the average height of men and women. In the past, the length of hand straps was fixed only to the average height of men.
Seoul Metro operates Seoul’s subways and stations and the Seoul Metropolitan Facilities Management Corporation manages all of underground shopping malls in Seoul and the World Cup Stadium. Because the two organizations take care of public facilities and provide services closely to the citizens, this measure to review the advertisement materials in advance might make more improvements and change the citizens can feel directly.
If it is a commercial advertisement made by the private sector, the SMG provides a check list to advertising agencies so that they are able to examine if there is any gender discriminating contents. The check list states the law and ordinance the agencies must follow, and also contains self-regulating guidelines to protect women from discrimination in the advertisement. The guidelines include the self-checkup if the materials contain the stereotyping of roles of women and men; the gender discrimination and denigration; the obsession with beauty and entrenched “lookism”; and other anti-gender equality contents.
After the test period until the end of this year, the system will be revised and applied to all twenty of the city government-funded organizations starting from 2018.