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The Council of Europe defines sexism


Council of Europe, definition, sexism, campaign, Recommendations, hashtag #stopsexism, slogan “See it. Name it. Stop it.”And launches awareness and anti-sexism action campaigns.

In March 2019, the 47-state Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted a new Recommendation on Preventing and Combating Sexism.

Not only did this text contain the first ever internationally agreed definition of sexism, but it also proposed a set of concrete measures to combat this wide-spread phenomenon.

In 27 May 2019, the Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation CM/Rec (2019)1 on preventing and combating sexism.

It comprises a comprehensive catalogue of measures both to prevent and to condemn sexism, and it calls for specific action in such areas as: language and communications; internet and social media; media, advertising and other communication methods; workplace; public sector; justice sector; education institutions; culture and sport; and the private sphere.

Countries are encouraged to pass legislation that condemns sexism and criminalises sexist hate speech.

It also requires that countries monitor the implementation of anti-sexist policies at national level and report back periodically to the Council of Europe.

And it asked them to ensure that this Recommendation, including its appendix, is translated and disseminated in accessible formats to relevant authorities and stakeholders.

Sexism, the Council now recognises, is present in all areas of life, from catcalls on the street, to women being ignored during work meetings, to comments made about politicians on the length of their skirts rather than their latest parliamentary report.

And when sexist behaviour accumulates, it can lead to an acceptance of discrimination and even violence.

Sexism is harmful and lies at the root of gender inequality, produces feelings of worthlessness, self-censorship, changes in behaviour, and a deterioration in health.

Sexism affects women and girls disproportionately.

Some groups of women, such as politicians, journalists, women’s human rights defenders, or young women, may be particularly vulnerable to acts of sexism.

And it can affect men and boys when they don’t conform to stereotyped gender roles.

Moreover, the impact of sexism can be worse for some women and men due to ethnicity, age, disability, social origin, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or other factors.

The Council of Europe is a pan-European organisation of 47 member states, including all 28 member states of the European Union, and the aim of the recommendation is to help the wider public identify acts of sexism and take a stand against them.

To address these issues and encourage the full implementation of the Recommendation, the Council of Europe has just launched a video and action page under the hashtag #stopsexism and the slogan ‘See it. Name it. Stop it.’

And the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland, said: “No-one should be discriminated against because of their sex.

“This is a basic principle which we are still far from respecting in practice.

“Through efforts to prevent and combat sexist behaviour, the Council of Europe wants to help ensure a level playing field for women and men, boys and girls.”

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