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Launch of Report Exposing Endemic Sexism in the British Press

The ‘Just the Women’ report was launched yesterday, the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25th November) by OBJECT, Eaves, the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW), of which Rape Crisis (England and Wales) is a member, and Equality Now.

It calls for the 'Leveson debate' on media reform to urgently address the portrayal of women, and to wake up to the harm done to women through persistent objectification, stereotyping, and prejudicial reporting.

‘Just the Women’ is an evaluation of the content of eleven British national newspapers over a two week period in September this year. It examines how crimes of violence against women are reported, how women are portrayed more broadly, and the general visibility of women in public life. The fortnight’s study found over 1,300 pieces of editorial and images that illustrated different forms of media sexism.

The report’s key findings are:

  • Crimes of violence against women are frequently reported inaccurately and without context, with a tendency to minimise the perpetrator’s actions and to blame the victim
  • Some tabloids contribute to the sexualisation of girls while purporting to condemn it; sexual abuse of children is sometimes presented in a way that minimises the abuse and is even on occasion titillating
  • In many newspapers women are persistently portrayed as sex objects, alongside the mainstreaming and ‘normalising’ of the sex industry; this is also an area where the line between advertising and editorial is extremely blurred
  • Regarding women in public life, younger women are visible but heavily stereotyped and infantilised, while older, disabled and black and minority ethnic women are less visible, and those in public life are often subject to ridicule.

Read this crucial and illuminating report here.

Read the Observer article featuring our report here.

Read our letter to the Prime Minister regarding the report here.

Read the press release here.

Take Action:

Please use this opportunity to send our report to your MP (find your MP here) requesting that they take action on media sexism.

And don't forget to Tweet and spread the word!

It is time that women, and the portrayal of women, are on the agenda in all discussions regarding media reform.