How gender is shaping the pandemic

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A woman in a crowd wearing a mask

Gender has been an important and often misunderstood factor in COVID-19 safety guidance, demonstrated by the Government’s sexist, and withdrawn, advert depicting only women in child-caring and cleaning roles. 

The key message of the pandemic was to wear masks, social distance and stay at home. Lots of advertisements were produced to get this across. 

Ironically, many COVID-19 ads often depicted women even though men were more at risk of the disease. This mattered because incorrect targeting may decrease compliance with regulations and vaccine uptake. 

Early on psychologists, Dr Magdalena Zawisza and her team (ARU) realised gender was an important in how society responded to COVID-19 information.

Together, they discuss the role gender has played in our responses to the pandemic, whether we can avoid the pitfalls of gendered adverts and whether ‘non-traditional’ portrayals of people in ads really make a difference. 

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