Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Everyday Sexism and why we should all be feminists

Welcome to my third blog in three weeks. Not quite so topical this week but a blog I've been considering writing for a while. Anyway a couple of months ago I read a book called Everyday Sexism. I'm a feminist so naturally the book interested me.  

It all stemmed from an woman called Laura Bates who started this Everyday Sexism project in 2012 to highlight her own experiences and encouraged others to send their experiences in to her website and facebook page. She got so many responses that it went viral worldwide. She then started regularly speaking in schools, colleges and universities and started writing articles for newspapers. This has now culminated in a book that highlights a lot of experiences of women around the world and is backed up with stats and puts sexism in various contexts.

In her book, Laura covers subjects such as harassment on the street, public transport and the workplace. Did you know for instance that in 2012 43% of women in London aged 18-34 experienced sexual harassment. (Source: Yougov).
She also covers gender stereotyping  at an early age to encourage children to stick to traditional gender roles. One of the examples used in the book was a woman tweeting in to her that 'Every time a girl sees science toys under a boys sign, she is told science in not suitable for her'. From a boys perspective, a mother messaged in to the project saying how she received a lot of negative comments about her son pushing around a doll in a pushchair.'

Furthermore she also discusses sexism in the media. It's pointed out that women write only a fifth of newspaper articles in the UK. (Source: Women in Journalism Study 2012). The lack of representation of women in politics is also highlighted (Only 147 out 650 MPs are women).

Double Discrimination is also seen as a key issue. One stat pointed out is that in the UK almost 1 in 5 black, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi women is unemployed compared to 1 in 14 white women.  (Source: APPG on Race and Community 2012)

These are just some of the many example whereby women experience everyday sexism. There are many more in the book and in a wider variety of contexts across the world. This isn't just a book review, but more of a blog about how Everyday Sexism has reiterated to me the importance of the fight against sexism and how we can all get involved. There is no excuse not to be a feminist. It is purely about gender equality regardless of the negative connotation the word has had attached to it.

So I urge everyone, regardless of what type of book you usually read, to read Everyday Sexism. Especially to those that think sexism basically doesn't exist any more. This could really open your mind. Yes we have made certain strides in the fight for gender equality but the Everyday Sexism project proves how much more we need to do.