Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority is set to ban adverts that depict gender stereotypes, such as men struggling with household tasks or women cleaning up after the family. But, are they right to ban such adverts if they are based on truth?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s damaging for anyone to try and drive women, or men, into forced roles within the family. Yet, an ONS study shows that women do 40% more work around the house than men – does that mean they are subordinate? No. There are exceptions, but most decisions to do with who does what around the house are a matter of choice, albeit a choice that is influenced by tradition.

Before the general election, Theresa May and her husband, Philip, sat on the One Show sofa and discussed ‘boy jobs’ and ‘girl jobs’ within their own household. In every household, gender specific jobs exist. Although we should be careful not enforce roles simply because they are most commonly associated with one sex, these roles come about naturally. For example, my mother does the cooking, but my father does the washing and ironing. Why? Because they’re a team and they play to their strengths – my mother isn’t a fan of ironing and my father’s a hopeless cook. Interestingly, the ONS study showed that whilst women did more work around the house, men did more work in transport, e.g driving members of the family around. This suggests there is a more general balance in the sharing of family responsibilities between men and women.

I’d like to think that in the 21st century, we live in a free and open society where men and women are able to choose how they want to split the workload around the home, where they can complement each other and not be at odds. Where women can cook and clean and not feel like they’re being stereotyped, and where adverts aren’t needlessly censored for simply depicting consumer habits in an effort to sacrifice freedom of expression and choice for so-called ’diversity’. And I worry that the ASA can’t distinguish between diversity and equality. Whereas a diverse society – something that we should fight for – is one that accepts and includes all chosen lifestyles, the equality crusade is the true culprit for enforcing roles and labels on people, not stereotypes.