Council of Europe creates first internationally agreed upon definition of sexism

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers have adopted a recommendation to fight sexism in Europe.

Victoria Wystepek
Victoria Wystepek NewsMavens, Europe
Council of Europe creates first internationally agreed upon definition of sexism - NewsMavens
Meeting room. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

The recommendation explains the prevalence of sexism in daily life: in the media, the workplace, advertising, education, sports, and the justice system The report recommends that member states take measurable actions to combat sexism, such as considering legislative reforms that define and criminalize sexist hate speech, undertaking campaigns to raise awareness about sexist comments on social media, and developing manuals for educators to better detect and address gender stereotypes in the classroom. 

The Council agrees that sexism is: 

“Any act, gesture, visual representation, spoken or written words, practice or behaviour based upon the idea that a person or a group of persons is inferior because of their sex, which occurs in the public or private sphere, whether online or offline, with the purpose or effect of:

  1. violating the inherent dignity or rights of a person or a group of persons; or
  2. resulting in physical, sexual, psychological, or socio-economic harm or suffering to a person or a group of persons; or
  3. creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; or
  4. constituting a barrier to the autonomy and full realisation of  human rights by a person or a group of persons; or
  5. maintaining and reinforcing gender stereotypes.” 

The Council asks EU member states to monitor progress in implementing their guidelines in reference to this definition, and to inform the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission of the steps they have taken along with their progress.

Details from the story:

  • This move comes in response to #MeToo and other movements that have increased awareness of the prevalence of sexism in society. 
  • This move is the EU’s first since 2017 that has addressed sexism among member nations.
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