Ukraine passes a law against sexism in advertising. What will change?

On September 10, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, in the second reading, voted for bill No. 3427, which imposes liability for gender discrimination in advertising and introduces the terms “discriminatory advertising” and “gender discriminatory advertising.”

AIN.UA asked lawyers and marketers of Juscutum how the new norms of the law will differ from the previous version and what will change for marketers.

Not every nude image in advertising is considered gender discrimination. For example, it is inappropriate to show a naked body in advertisements for construction materials, phones, or beer. But it may be justified when promoting brands of underwear, contraceptives, or cosmetics.

“The main criteria for sexist advertising are an inappropriate representation of a naked body, the unreasonable use of sexual connotations, and gender discrimination. In other words, when the image of the naked body is not related to the advertised product, it is a characteristic sign of sexism,” explains Oleg Onishchenko, a lawyer at Juscutum.

With bill No. 3427, deputies supported the introduction of the terms “discriminatory advertising” and “gender discriminatory advertising” into the law. According to Onishchenko, from now on, it will be possible to refer to specific provisions in the law that clearly state that sexist advertising is prohibited. So, it will be easier to conduct pre-trial negotiations with incompetent marketers who do not want to realize that sexism is discrimination.

If there is any gender discrimination in commercials, an advertiser must pay a fine of ten minimum wages, 60,000 hryvnias (approx. $2,245). Also, a court may oblige the advertiser to publicly refute sexist advertising, Oleg Onishchenko says.

“Quality marketing teams now definitely need a lawyer because in each specific case, only a lawyer can see the risk to a client, and most importantly — to make a decision whether an advertiser would be vulnerable to losing a lawsuit,” added Irina Myagka, Chief of Marketing at Juscutum.