Advertising and media need to be a force for change to unlock the $10 trillion purchasing power of women in the U.S., maintains Latha Sarathy, Chief Research Officer for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and SeeHer (a global movement within the ANA). Accurate gender representation in advertising can drive measurable business outcomes for brands, including heightened consumer trust, loyalty, and improved sales performance. That’s according to the 2024 Gender Equality Measure (GEM) Lift research from SeeHer and Circana. GEM Lift measures the impact gender equality principles in advertising campaigns have on business growth.

To show brands just how much of a difference representation can make, SeeHer and Circana analyzed 24 creatives across eight brands. The data highlights the value that brands have been capturing over the last five years by investing in gender equality in their advertising campaigns. Among the 2024 findings:

  • Creative advertising that overturns long-held stereotypes and accurately represents women can drive incremental sales lifts of up to 10X (a notable increase compared to a 5X sales lift seen in a 2019 analysis). 
  • The increase in sales lift among Gen Z and younger millennials exceeds that of older age groups, with a 9X sales lift with higher-GEM-scoring creatives.
  • The GEM Lift Study 2024 shows notable increases in sales lift among African-American and Hispanic consumers. 
  • Featuring ethnically diverse women on screen leads to improved return on advertising investment among all households regardless of race or ethnicity.

“Our research clearly demonstrates that—apart from contributing to a more inclusive media and marketing landscape—advancing gender equality in advertising is a business imperative for any brand that wants to not only thrive today but also survive in the future,” said Christine Guilfoyle, President of SeeHer, in an announcement for the latest findings. “Younger consumers have higher expectations when it comes to accurate portrayals of women in advertising and lower tolerance for gender stereotypes. Considering the economic purchasing power of women and long-term purchasing power of younger generations, the time is now for brands and marketers to prioritize gender equity best practices in their marketing strategies for real economic impact.”

Erika Digirolamo, Director of Media and Marketing Solutions, Circana, added, “Brands are starting to appreciate how gender equality in advertising can drive sales growth. Our research continues to prove that accurately representing women of different ethnicities and ages can boost sales. Equality starts with cultural perceptions, and media plays a key role in both furthering and combating cultural perceptions, and quantitative evaluation is key to moving the industry in an upward direction.”

Related: NutraViews: Women Are Your Consumers—Are you Reaching Them?