In India, China and Indonesia, only 13 percent of adverts for consumer goods that feature women and 18 percent of ads with men could be considered "progressive," according to research commissioned by Unilever.
Aline Santos, Unilever's executive vice-president of global marketing, said that advertising had a way to go to catch up with societal changes in parts of Asia.
She cited a protest by Filipino women using the "BabaeAko" ("I Am Woman") hashtag against sexist comments made by President Rodrigo Duterte, and the legalization of gay sex and relationships in India earlier this month.
Santos, who is also the company's global head of diversity and inclusion, said that while there are progressive movements involving women in countries such as China, where there are more female than male students at universities, advertising in general lags behind.
"The region is starting to see things that they've never seen before… there is a lot of progress in places you wouldn't expect," she told CNBC by phone on Wednesday. Unilever is the world's second-largest advertiser and houses brands such as Lipton, Dove, Axe and Hellmann's, and already, 50 percent of the company's ads in the Asia-Pacific region are seen by consumers as progressive, Unilever research suggests.