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07/24/2013

Everyday sexism in a supposedly equal society

The gang rape and murder of a woman on a bus in India, vigilante groups to punish rapists in Cairo, it sometimes seems like only women in the developing world risk their lives going out in public.

In western societies the sexism and misogyny isn’t always so obvious which is why the Everyday Sexism Project was launched, so that the public (it doesn’t have to be just women) can share experiences.  Some of the stories are mundane but many others are harrowing. Like this one:

Everydaysexism1

A lot of women are harassed on public transport: 

Everydaysexismtweets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The project’s creators say that it is hard for women to talk about the subject in a society that is perceived to have achieved equality. 

“Women who complain about disrespectful comments being made to female members in the House of Commons are accused of ‘overreacting’, yet only 22% of MPs are female. Those who object to the sexist portrayal of women in the media are branded ‘killjoys’, yet nearly 70% of speaking parts in Hollywood films are taken by men, (though female characters are five times more likely to strip down to sexy clothing.)” they wrote on the website. 

Worryingly, many of those who have written in are adolescent girls. Like this one:

Everydaysexismchildren

The site's references are British-centric, but it has touched a nerve with women from many other countries - the Twitter feed @EveryDaySexism is massively popular with 79,225 followers and the website has been liked on Facebook 10,000 times. 

Hamida Ghafour is a foreign affairs reporter at The Star. She has lived and worked in the Middle East and Asia for more than 10 years and is the author of a book on Afghanistan. Follow her on Twitter @HamidaGhafour

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