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Personal profile

Research Interests

My research covers gender and inclusion issues in advertising. In considering the social impact of markting and advertising my work includes research questions such as:

  • What are the socio-cultural impacts on the portrayal of women and marginalised groups in advertising?
  • What are the broad market system-level influences towards socially equitable advertising portrayals?
  • How might stereotypes be hidden in advertising meaning? 


Karen is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Portsmouth. Her expertise, gained over 20 years, lies in the domains of diversity in advertising, socially responsible advertising practices, and the intersection of advertising, corporate communications, and social media. She supervises a number of PhD students in these areas. Her dedication to fostering an inclusive and diverse academic environment is evident in her leadership as the Chair of the Faculty Athena SWAN Team. Athena SWAN is an equality charter mark and accreditation scheme that recognises and celebrates good practices in HE towards the advancement of gender equality. Karen obtained her PhD in gender stereotyping in advertising in 2022, earning recognition for her pioneering research into the institutional role of advertising in a dynamic market system, and for which she was awarded the Worshipful Company of Marketors thesis award for exceptional contributions to marketing. Her work has been published in internationally-excellent journals such as Psychology & Marketing, Marketing Theory, and the International Journal of Advertising. Her contributions extend beyond research and teaching. She has actively engaged with the industry, policymakers and civil society, partnering with organisations like the Conscious Advertising Network, to advocate for advertising to defund hate speech and content, and contributing her expertise to policy discussions on violence against women and girls.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

Ph.D., How advertising got ‘woke.’ The institutional role of advertising in the emergence of gender progressive market logics and practices

Award Date: 20 May 2022


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