The Behaviours Agency’s gender equality pledge is our commitment to promoting gender equality in advertising. It provides a framework for us to turn our intentions into actions, celebrating difference.

We will place behaviour, not gender, first.

Over the years our industry has assumed that a man or a woman played a particular role in the decision making process, only to be surprised further down the line as times and stereotypes changed. We now put behaviour, not gender, first. Our campaigns are based on understanding what influences behaviour while establishing potential gender difference and similarities.

Of course there are categories where it’s bonkers to do that – feminine hygiene to name one. What’s crucial is to avoid taking female prejudices into the male environment and visa versa. For example, you only need to think about the behavioural differences in clothes shopping between men and women for a moment to recognise just how compromising that would be.

We will be representative, real and responsible.

We recognise our responsibility as custodians of brands to act responsibly – we can change perceptions if we act together with our clients. This means that we question, question and question again to make sure we understand our audience and that we’re keeping it real.

Our starting point is to be representative of our audience and then apply good old common sense. If one gender is significantly more present in the buying decision then reach them, just be mindful of stereotyping.

We will celebrate difference.

Difference is great and should be our friend. So, we always look to celebrate, and not hide, gender differences. This is one reason that we prioritise behaviour, as men and women can equally behave surprisingly different or the same.

We will test, test and re-test to establish changing sensitivities.

#metoo has taught us that opinions can change rapidly. We advocate absolute vigilance in our campaign development. This means testing sensitivity and insisting on challenging our assumptions at strategic points in the planning process.

We will encourage brands to champion inclusivity with purpose and not for publicity.

We’ve seen lots of brands jump on the bandwagon and in some cases this has backfired. It appears as a token gesture, rather than a commitment to equality. We encourage brands to think long and hard about their pledge and role in a more equal world.

Download our Gender equality in advertising report.