McCann Worldgroup Canada study finds that 66% of women believe there are too many gender stereotypes in advertising

McCann Worldgroup Canada study finds that 66% of women believe there are too many gender stereotypes in advertising

According to a national report Canadian Women will no longer accept being reduced to a tired stereotype

The digital revolution is empowering female creators to bypass the gatekeepers of mass media and create content and communities that reflect a better portrayal of women and their lives.  According to new research from McCann Worldgroup Canada, nearly two-thirds (72%) of Canadian women believe that technology and social media give women a voice.  While advertisers, marketers and brands still exert tremendous power over mass media, their imperfect portrayal of women is coming to an end.


Called the Truth About Canadian Women, the study explores the changing conversation around women in Canada today – how they are shaping change and how this change is shaping everything around them.  The ‘Imperfect Portrayal of Women’ report issued today is the third of five in the series that will be released this year on the changing roles of women in Canadian society, including in-depth explorations of how women feel about their work, household roles, aging, and media representations.  View the full report here.


“Canada is in the midst of a massive change in how we represent women – from the portrayal of a singular ideal to the portrayal of a whole woman. Women are changing the narrative through inclusivity, authenticity and completeness as they take control of their stories and break taboos,” said Mary Chambers, Chief Strategy Officer of McCann Worldgroup Canada. “This is the story of how women are systematically taking ownership of the media and the message, refusing to be just receivers. This change is not without challenges, but therein lies the opportunity for brands.”


The research also unveiled that only 3 in 10 Canadian women can identify with most of the women they see in ads.  While over the past decade the portrayed list of characters has evolved from nurturing and sexy to include strong, funny and self-determined, we still have a long way to go before we reach an authentic portrayal of women.  View the full report here.


In 2016, McCann Worldgroup Canada developed The Truth About Canadians – a landmark consumer research study in partnership with Ipsos. This year, once again they partnered with Ipsos to launch the follow-up to that work – The Truth About Canadian Women.  In addition to the study results themselves, the research will be going even deeper by enabling conversations and debates with a wide range of influential women through an exclusive ‘Game Changer’ dinner series. The events will bring together some of Canada’s most influential and inspirational women from across the country to discuss key topics and their implications for marketers.


Starting with a nationwide quantitative survey, the Truth About Canadian Women study is designed to explore the changing lives, roles and expectations of women and their effect on the new norms in Canada. Coupled with qualitative research and interviews with key marketing industry leaders, the study provides an in-depth look at Canadian women, while taking the pulse of Canadians with respect to their opinions, values and expectations of modern brands.


McCann Worldgroup Canada plans to use the study over the coming months to provide customized marketing workshops and business applications for select clients and interested marketers in Canada.


Conducted by McCann Worldgroup Canada and Ipsos Public Affairs, McCann Worldgroup Canada’s Truth About Canadian Women study has uncovered some surprising facts about Canadian Women, that will be explored over the next several months:

Gender equality at work?  Women aren’t feeling it.

76% of women believe we don’t have gender equality in the workplace

One home, two realities.

73% of men believe household chores are shared, while 40% of women believe they do all the work alone

Best Intentions aren’t enough.

67% of millennial women believe there are too many gender stereotypes in advertising

  • Women over 50: The Untapped Opportunity: August 2018

Past 50:  The best is yet to come.

58% of women feel their lives are fuller after 50

  • Raising Girls and Boys: September 2018

The promise of real change.

63% of millennial parents are raising Gen Alpha gender neutral



  • Quantitative Survey: Collected online among a representative sample of n=2,700 adult Canadians, 18 years of age and older, 60/40 M/F split
  • Nation-wide qualitative Bulletin Boards & Workshops: with Canadian women who are leaders in their own communities
  • 30+ Expert Interviews: with leading Canadian marketers and women shaping change in Canada today
  • Game Changer Dinner Series: with women of influence across Canada’s key cities, tackling one topic at a time