By Nadeya Hussain –
Sexism refers to:
“Prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender.”
There is no doubt that sexism in society is a prevalent issue, yet many people are unaware of its severity. Because of the widespread problem, the Council of Europe has decided to act on this by adopting a Recommendation to prevent and combat sexism which you can view here.
(As we discuss sexism in this article, we will follow up with a discussion of sexism for men in a future article.)
Sexism can be categorised in several ways. Sexism can be:
- Hostile: Hostile sexism is dangerous, as well as misogynistic. Women are subjected as manipulative, angry, and manipulative by it. Gender equality is viewed as an attack on masculinity.
- Benevolent: an attitude that appears to be positive in tone but implies inferiority towards men based on the woman’s vulnerability, incompetence, or need for assistance and protection
- Ambivalent: An intersection of ‘Hostile’ and ‘Benevolent’. Women may be regarded as ‘pure’ but are seen as manipulative if they step against the tradition.
It is evident from the statistics that this problem is widespread, an indication we need to work together to lower those numbers.
- In the UK, 66% of 16-18-year-old girls surveyed experienced or witnessed the use of sexist language at school.
- 63% of women journalists have been confronted with verbal abuse
- Only 6 countries give women equal legal work rights as men (does NOT include the UK)
- 50% of disabled women experience domestic violence.
Considering these statistics, we don’t appear to have evolved as rapidly as we had thought.
Place where women are encountering sexism every day
Sexist behaviour in the workplace may take a variety of forms including, gender discrimination in hiring and during work, harassment, inequality, sexist jokes, and several other forms.
When employees or employers can generalise women as being less competent or less capable, they are showing sexism, since it is a negative assumption based on their gender. Often phrases such as ‘a man’s job’ are used to lower a woman’s position and work. Even though you did not intend to act sexist and may have made accidental remarks, you are still contributing to the statistics of sexism.
Gender pay inequality remains a problem. Despite narrowing over the past few years, the gap still exists. Several companies have a perception that women are less efficient than men, which is reinforced by them paying women less than their male counterparts. Companies such as:
- Telegraph Media Group (TMG) pays women 35% less than men on average.
- Sports Direct revealed that women in the retail group are paid 6.3% less on a median basis.
- Ryanair revealed a gender pay gap of 72%
Even though educational institutions are supposed to facilitate positive learning, unconscious and conscious bias is still present. Educators, students, and academic books can reinforce this message.
Many academic books in the past encouraged stereotypical roles for men and women through their terminology and illustrations.
Different values and upbringings lead to different values, and some students may feel superior because of their gender. The first thing we can do in this situation is train teachers to know the biases students may accumulate. They should also be trained to be aware of their own gender biases in the classroom.
The above was a brief overview of two examples of sexism. Other places where it appears include the private sphere, the public sphere, sports, and online media. We live in a society where sexism is prevalent in all fields. Therefore, we must create awareness and understanding of this situation to start speaking up and influencing change.
A site where a community can discuss their experiences openly: https://everydaysexism.com/
The EASS helpline: http://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/app/home or 0808 800 0082
Fawcett society: https://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/
UN Women: https://www.unwomen.org/en
Podcast ‘Women at Work’ : https://hbr.org/2018/01/podcast-women-at-work
Check out more from The DEN here.