Social marketing as part of the change toward gender equality

Gender equality is a priority of the Agenda for Sustainable Development (here) and the regional and national policies. The advance reached in the 2019-year in terms of gender equality and equity, for example, to reduce the violence towards women and non-binary people was exacerbated by the social and economic impact of the pandemic generated by COVID-19 (UN Women, 2021). In Latin America, for example, data from UN Women (2022) reveal a significative regression in the economic participation by women after the pandemic because they are generally responsible for taking care of their children or the elderly. On the other hand, areas such as education and access to health to manage chronic non-communicable diseases also they were hardly affected due to gender inequities and inequalities. For example, despite being resumed in person, the pause we had to take during the pandemic left consequences hindering women’s return to education. One of the reasons is teenage pregnancies that increased and their needs too (UN Women, 2022). Therefore, collaborative work from various sectors is necessary for advancing jointly toward gender equality.


It is required to understand how society and its population construct its identities, roles, power relationships, and collective and individual norms concerning gender. It means, what roles, attributes, responsibilities, and rights, culturally, are associated with people for their sex and gender; to propose ideas and strategies that are gender responsive and can be included in programs and policies of change and social transformation. These are topics that have been approached from the organizations’ work of civil society and the academy through marketing and communication to change (Marshall and Brown, 2004; Paluck et al., 2010; Chhabra et al., 2011; Gurrieri et al., 2013; Robertson and Davidson, 2013; Martam, 2016; Yoon et al., 2017; Szablewska and Kubacki, 2018; Krieter, 2021; Aya Pastrana et al., 2022). For example, Indonesia implemented social marketing in the MenCare+ program, its objective is to include men in different components, strategies, campaigns, and more, in the search for gender equality, as how they can include in the rising children.  Another example is from the academy in the literature review to identify studies about campaigns, like human trafficking, to determine how much these campaigns have been rigorously evaluated to avoid possible problems associated with the marketing practice (Szablewska and Kubacki, 2018).


IMEK, as a foundation that is dedicated to scientific research about marketing and communication areas in development, also seeks to contribute to closing gaps and advancing toward social transformation to equity and equality. One of our last publications, for example, is focused on how social initiatives, that use social marketing, can include gender-responsive approaches. We proposed ways according to the common phases of the social marketing programs: research, social issue identification and participant selection, development and implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL), reporting, and dissemination (Aya Pastrana, 2022) and build the change, that we want, toward the needs of gender equality from the context.


Written by: López Sánchez, M C.



Aya Pastrana, N., Somerville, C. & Suggs, LS. (2022). Integrating gender into social marketing programmes. Journal of Marketing Management. DOI: 10.1080/0267257X.2022.2071964

Chhabra, D., Andereck, K., Yamanoi, K. & Plunkett, D. (2011). Gender Equity and Social Marketing: An Analysis of Tourism Advertisements. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 28(2), P. 111-128.

Gurrieri, L., Previte, J. & Brace-Govan, J. (2013). Women’s Bodies as Sites of Control: Inadvertent Stigma and Exclusion in Social Marketing. Journal of Macromarketing, 33(2), p. 1-16.

Krieter, M. (2021). Promoting Gender Quality in Sports. Master Thesis. University of Twente: Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Science (BMS).

Marshall, K. P. & Brown, U. J. (2004). Target marketing in a social marketing context: gender differences in importance ratings of promoted intrinsic and extrinsic restricted exchange benefits of military enlistment. International Journal of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, 9(1), 69–85.

Martam, I. (2016). Strategic social marketing to Foster gender equality in Indonesia. Journal of Marketing Management, 32(11-12), p. 1174-1182.

ONU Mujeres. (24 de noviembre de 2021). La pandemia de COVID-19 y la violencia contra la mujer: qué nos revelan los datos.

ONU Mujeres. (11 de octubre de 2022). No dejar a ninguna niña atrás en materia de educación.

ONU Mujeres. (14 de octubre de 2022). La ONU defiende participación económica de la mujer para que haya crecimiento.

Paluck, E.L. & Ball, L. (2010). Social norms marketing aimed at gender-based violence: A literature review and critical assessment. New York: International Rescue Committee.

Robertson, K. & Davidson, J. (2013). Gender-role stereotypes in integrated social marketing communication: influence on attitudes towards the ad. Australasian Marketing Journal, 21(3), p. 168-175.

Szablewska, N. & Kubacki, K. (2018). Anti-Human Trafficking Campaigns: A Systematic Literature Review. Social Marketing Quarterly, 24(2), p. 104-122.

Yoon, H., La Ferle, C. & Edwards, S. (2017). Norm Effects on Gender in Social Marketing Advertising Campaigns Promoting Savings Behavior. Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 38(1), p. 1-16. DOI: 10.1080/10641734.2016.1233151


Shopping Cart
Stephanie Aya Pastrana, MSc
Adherent Member


Stephanie is an architect from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali with a master’s degree in Urban Strategies and Design from the University of Edinburgh. She has professional experience in the design and development of architectural projects of different scales, also developing research projects related to the quality of public spaces in Cali (Colombia) and sustainable construction. She currently works as a consultant and full-time professor at the Faculty of Creation and Habitat of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Cali.