World Forum for Democracy 2018 https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/26789/all cached version 18/01/2019 13:53:42 en “We create space for freedom”: battling sexism in Ukraine’s media https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/maria-sanz-dominguez/battling-sexism-in-ukraines-media <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Gender stereotypes are widespread in the Ukrainian media. I talked to activist Oleksandra Golub about campaigns to change this.</p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe width="460" height="290" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/G1U40lwBhQo" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p dir="ltr">Women are widely stereotyped in the Ukrainian media as financially dependent, “beautiful dolls” or merely “someone’s wife or daughter”, said Oleksandra Golub, who heads the NGO <a href="http://harmony.org.ua">women’s rights protection league</a>. Meanwhile, men are presented as unable to “take care of the family, or deal with children”. </p><p dir="ltr">Golub was one of hundreds of international speakers at the 2018 <a href="https://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy">World Forum for Democracy</a> at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. The theme of that event, in November, was “Gender Equality: Whose Battle?” with Golub's session asking <a href="https://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy/lab-8-can-stereotypes-against-women-be-banned-from-the-media-">Can stereotypes against women be banned from the media?</a></p><p dir="ltr">Earlier that month, Christian conservative media-makers gathered in Kyiv, Ukraine for the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/tetiana-kozak/christian-conservatives-media-influence-ukraine">Novomedia forum</a>. There, delegates discussed using the media to promote ultra-conservative ideas and gender roles to the exclusion of LGBT and other relationships that don’t conform to their vision of “traditional families”. </p><p dir="ltr">“We fight against these ideas, and try to create a space for freedom, where everyone could be themselves”, Golub told me, describing gender stereotypes, and rigid gender roles on TV, in magazines and advertisements as contributing “not only [to] inequality, but also for tolerance of gender-based violence”.</p><p dir="ltr">“Everyday we see a lot of violence in our screens, on the media, and of course it influences the behaviour of people”, she added, referencing <a href="http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/fr/countries/europe/ukraine">high levels of gender-based violence</a> in Ukraine alongside a gender pay gap of about 27%. The percentage of women in parliament meanwhile stands at <a href="https://datos.bancomundial.org/indicador/SG.GEN.PARL.ZS">just 12%</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">Golub is convinced that this low share of women participating in political institutions is influenced by sexist messages transmitted by the Ukrainian media daily. “Even voters during an election process have stereotypes of women’s roles, that women can't be good politicians”, the activist explained. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">When the media does interview a woman politician, they tend to show more interest in her clothes or husband, than her legislative proposals, she added. </p><p dir="ltr">High-profile, national politicians have also repeated such stereotypes. For instance, in 2010 Ukraine’s then newly-elected prime minister Mykola Azarov <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/mar/24/ukraine-mykola-azarov-women">stated that</a> conducting reforms in the country “was not women’s business”. </p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">The former Ukrainian prime minister Mykola Azarov stated that conducting reforms in the country “was not a women’s business”. </p><p dir="ltr">Golub’s organisation engages directly with media groups, parliament, governmental agencies and others to raise awareness about sexist content in the media and in statements by public figures. </p><p dir="ltr">On paper, Ukraine’s <a href="http://data.euro.who.int/tobacco/Repository/UA/Ukraine_Law%20on%20Advertising_1996(consolidated%20as%20of%202008).pdf">1996 advertising law</a> explicitly prohibits advertisements that contain “statements which are discriminatory” on grounds including gender.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite this, Golub’s NGO says that Ukrainian ads are full of objectifying and eroticising images of women and harmful gender stereotypes. To challenge this, in 2017 it launched a new campaign “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCD0oNrzBos">Ukraine without sexism</a>”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><iframe width="460" height="290" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TCD0oNrzBos" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr">As part of this campaign, it's published descriptions of sexist content to help people to identify such messages. It also encourages the Ukrainian public to report sexist advertising to the <a href="http://harmony.org.ua">women’s rights protection league</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">The group checks reports, publishes them on its Facebook page, and notifies government agencies to investigate potential violations of the advertising law. If these agencies agree that content is sexist, the companies responsible for it must remove it and face (small) fines. </p><p dir="ltr">In the first year of the campaign, Golub’s organisation sent more than 400 complaints to the government, which ruled that just 20 were discriminatory. </p><p dir="ltr">They also supported <a href="http://uam.in.ua/gkr/eng/?ELEMENT_ID=4157">amendments</a> to advertising laws to reinforce the regulation of sexist content – and the improvement of <a href="http://uam.in.ua/gkr/eng/?ELEMENT_ID=4044">procedures</a> by Ukraine’s ministry of social policy for imposing fines for violations of advertising law. </p><p dir="ltr">While Golub described some progress within public agencies, she sometimes faces heated talks with companies who don't understand objections to their content. It’s easier, she said, to produce sexist ads than high quality material. </p><p dir="ltr">Though, she described “one of the lawyers of a big advertisement company” who didn’t understand these complaints until the NGO explained them. In such cases, she believes they’ve “really changed minds of people” in the industry.</p><p dir="ltr">A year later, Golub said, she saw this lawyer commenting on another sexist ad on Facebook, saying: “Guys, don't do that, because it is prohibited by law”.</p><p dir="ltr">Golub told me that tackling gender stereotypes in the media is important for Ukrainian democracy. However, equality cannot be achieved by legislation alone, she said, and must come from “an everyday respect for women”.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* 50.50 reported on these events in Strasbourg as part of openDemocracy’s partnership with the 2018 World Forum for Democracy.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/lidia-kurasinska/men-europe-violence-against-women-stop-blaming-migrants">Men in Europe must stop blaming migrants for ‘importing’ gender violence</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/gender-equality-in-europe-advancing-at-snail-s-pace">Gender equality in Europe ‘advancing at snail’s pace’</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Ukraine </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Ukraine Culture Equality International politics World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media women's movements gender Maria Sanz Dominguez Fri, 18 Jan 2019 09:08:31 +0000 Maria Sanz Dominguez 121311 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Men in Europe must stop blaming migrants for ‘importing’ gender violence https://www.opendemocracy.net/lidia-kurasinska/men-europe-violence-against-women-stop-blaming-migrants <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">From Germany to India, these campaigners are battling ‘toxic masculinity’ to engage men in fights for gender equality.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/LK1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/LK1.png" alt="lead lead " title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Men on the Women's March, London 2017. Photo: Flickr/ Kathryn Alkins. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Men in Europe must push back against claims that gender-based violence is being ‘imported’ into the continent by immigrants, said Robert Franken, co-founder of the <a href="http://www.male-feminists-europe.org">Male Feminists Europe</a> network, based in Cologne, Germany. </p><p dir="ltr">Famously, Cologne witnessed a wave of sexual assaults on <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35231046">New Year’s Eve in 2015</a>, committed by men of immigrant and asylum-seeker backgrounds. In the aftermath, this was <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/20160109-germany-cologne-pegida-far-right-rally-new-year-violence-sexual-assaults-women-migrants-ref">used by German far-right groups </a>to fuel an <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/edited-1038-headline-works-well-a7512636.html">anti-immigrant backlash</a> and present migrants as inherently dangerous to women. </p><p dir="ltr">But, Franken noted, “according to a <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/domestic-violence-in-germany-woman-killed-every-3-days/a-46380446">study</a> recently widely discussed in German papers, the biggest threat to a German woman would actually be her partner”.</p><p dir="ltr">He made these comments at the <a href="https://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy">World Forum for Democracy (WFD)</a> at the Council of Europe in November in Strasbourg, France, where politicians, researchers and civil society activists from around the world had gathered to discuss the conference’s 2018 theme, “Gender equality: whose battle?”</p><p dir="ltr">At the event’s opening session, delegates were warned that gender equality in Europe is <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/gender-equality-in-europe-advancing-at-snail-s-pace">”advancing at a snail’s pace”</a> with little progress over the last decade. </p><p dir="ltr">Rigid ideas of manhood which fuel gender-based violence are present worldwide, but it’s not just women that pay the price – they harm men too. That was the conclusion of the session Franken spoke at along with others from the UK and India who are also working to mobilise men for gender equality. </p><p dir="ltr">Internationally, anti-feminist “<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/lara-whyte/young-men-should-be-furious-inside-worlds-largest-mens-rights-activism">men’s rights activists</a>” appear to be increasingly organised and well-connected. In contrast, Franken told the audience it was an ongoing challenge that “men haven’t yet organised on a global scale to change this toxic view of masculinity and what it is like to be a man”. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">For many privileged men “equality might feel like discrimination”</p><p dir="ltr">The problem, Franken said, lies in the fact that many men “just don’t think it’s their job to do something about gender imbalances. Whenever I bring up the idea of male privilege a lot of men freak out”. What’s more, he added, for many privileged men “equality might feel like discrimination”.</p><p dir="ltr">“They immediately ask: want is it you want me to do, do I have to be ashamed of my privilege? My answer is: no, you don’t have to be ashamed of your privilege, but you have to be aware of it. That’s the first step”.</p><p dir="ltr">This year’s WFD opened on International Men's Day, 19 November, when <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/whats-next-for-metoo-movement">50.50 met Harish Sadani</a> from the group <a href="http://www.mavaindia.org">Men Against Violence and Abuse India (MAVA)</a>, who said that “men’s rights” groups have mushroomed in India. </p><p dir="ltr">According to Sadani, this “disturbing” development fails to tackle the root causes of pressures facing Indian men, including the expectation to perform well economically. For instance, he said, these groups ignore systemic factors affecting men’s suicide rates, blaming women for them instead.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/LK2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/LK2.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="308" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A world without violence against women: Peace, love, joy. Solomon Islands, 2014. Photo: UN Women/Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span>On the WFD panel <a href="https://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy/asset-view-page/-/asset_publisher/Mien4uijrJTq/content/wfd-2018-lab-masculinities-reexamined-intro?inheritRedirect=false">“Masculinities Re-examined”</a>, Sadani presented his work to tackle gender-based violence in India by engaging with men. He also described how prevalent this violence is, and the attitudes that drives it.</p><p dir="ltr">“Over half of boys and girls aged 15-19 believe it’s alright for a man to hit a woman under certain circumstances”, he explained, giving as examples of such circumstances: “when the woman doesn’t do household chores, if she doesn’t get her husband’s permission to go out, or if she refuses sex”.</p><p dir="ltr">But Sadani maintained that men can and must play a central role in challenging toxic masculinity, as it harms them too. He shared, for instance, how his organisation provides “personal change plans” to help young men confront their privileges, and builds “safe spaces” for men to talk without fear of being judged. </p><p dir="ltr">The key to engaging men, Sadani argued, is to show that there are multiple different ways of being a man and performing masculinity. </p><p dir="ltr">“When you say men shouldn’t be violent, what is the alternative you are giving them?” he asked. “Young men are surrounded by images of toxic, hegemonic masculinity, and they don’t have any other role models”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“When you say men shouldn’t be violent, what is the alternative you are giving them?”</p><p dir="ltr">Sadani and Franken were joined on their panel by Chris Green, founder of White Ribbon UK – a branch of the global movement, <a href="https://www.whiteribbonscotland.org.uk/what-we-do/our-history/">launched in 1991</a> by a group of Canadian men after the mass shooting of 14 women students at the University of Montreal. </p><p dir="ltr">When Green asked the panel’s audience to imagine what a world without gender-based violence would look like, their responses ranged from “peaceful” and “safe” to “harmonious” and “free from prejudice”. </p><p dir="ltr">“It’s men’s responsibility to stop gender violence”, he insisted, adding: “And since men listen a bit more carefully when the message is spoken by other men, we need to challenge each other to do better”. </p><p dir="ltr">White Ribbon UK runs a <a href="https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/ambassadors/">volunteer ambassador programme</a> which encourages men to promote its principles in their own daily interactions with other men. </p><p dir="ltr">It provides companies, public institutions and local governments with ‘action plans’ to challenge gender-based violence. Organisations can also apply for White Ribbon accreditation to show their commitment to tackling this issue. </p><p dir="ltr">“If we want to see change, we need to mobilise large numbers. We need to reach music venues, sports clubs, universities”, Green told WFD delegates. </p><p dir="ltr">“Celebrities speaking out is great, but we want police officers, bus drivers, the whole community to embrace our values. It’s baby steps”.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* 50.50 reported on these events in Strasbourg as part of openDemocracy’s partnership with the 2018 World Forum for Democracy.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/gender-equality-in-europe-advancing-at-snail-s-pace">Gender equality in Europe ‘advancing at snail’s pace’</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Civil society Equality Ideas International politics World Forum for Democracy 2018 violence against women gender Lidia Kurasinska Mon, 14 Jan 2019 09:05:29 +0000 Lidia Kurasinska 121086 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Twitter threats, abuse, murder: what women face defending the environment https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/b-reng-re-sim/murder-rape-twitter-threats-what-women-face-defending-environment <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Latin America is the deadliest region for environmental and land defenders. But murders often follow numerous threats, including online.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image1b.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image1b.png" alt="Community protest against dam construction in Ituango, Colombia. September 2018. Photo: Flickr/350.org CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Some rig" title="" width="460" height="308" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Community protest against dam construction in Ituango, Colombia. September 2018. Photo: Flickr/350.org CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Isabel Cristina Zuleta is a human rights activist in Antioquia, northern Colombia, where she works for the Ríos Vivos&nbsp;<a href="https://riosvivosantioquia.org/">Movimiento de Afectados por Represas</a>&nbsp;(movement of people affected by dams). According to the NGO Global Witness, 27 activists were murdered in this country in 2017 alone.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2010, Zuleta has opposed the construction of the Hidroituango hydroelectric dam on the river Cauca, Colombia's second most important. Ríos Vivos is trying to raise awareness of problems the dam could cause – including environmental damage, forced evictions, and the impoverishment of local residents whose livelihoods rely on the river.</p><p dir="ltr">Because of her activism, Zuleta has faced threats, harassment, attempted forced disappearances, criminal charges as well as sexual violence. In 2013, she said she was kidnapped by agents of the government’s so-called Mobile Anti-Disturbance squad who also photographed her “<em>partes íntimas</em>” (‘private parts’) while she was in detention.</p><p dir="ltr">According to a 2018 report by the <a href="https://fondoaccionurgente.org.co/en/">Fondo de Acción Urgente</a> (Urgent Action Fund Latin America and the Caribbean, or FAU-AL) human rights network, when Zuleta reported this treatment to the Attorney General, she was told that it “was not the important thing”, and instead she was accused of promoting attacks against the company building the dam.</p><p dir="ltr">In August, Zuleta told 50.50 that activists had received a myriad of recent threats, including: people approaching them to say they cannot protest, or threatening to kill them; people tailing them on the streets; and death threats via text messages, phone calls and Twitter. The next month, two family members of activists from her organisation were<a href="https://riosvivosantioquia.org/asesinan-a-familiares-de-integrantes-del-movimiento-rios-vivos-antioquia/"> murdered</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">“I think that land and environmental defenders, we confront capitalist interests, and this means [our work] involves a higher level of risk”, Zuleta told 50.50 via a WhatsApp message voice recording. However, “without this land we don’t have any life possibilities”, she added. “We cannot negotiate our lives”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">We confront capitalist interests, and this means [our work] involves a higher level of risk.</p><p dir="ltr">In November, seven men<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/29/berta-caceres-seven-men-convicted-conspiracy-murder-honduras"> were found guilty</a> of murdering Berta Isabel Cáceres, a Honduran indigenous campaigner who'd long battled to block the construction of a dam on the Gualcarque river, considered sacred by the Lenca people.</p><p dir="ltr">The supreme court ruled that Caceres’ murder was ordered by executives of the<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/04/honduras-dam-activist-berta-caceres"> company Desarrollos Energeticos SA</a> behind the Agua Zarca dam project because of delays and financial losses linked to protests led by the activist.</p><p dir="ltr">Cáceres was 44 years old when she was shot dead in her home on 2 March 2016, after receiving death threats for years. Her murder shocked the world and brought greater international attention to the plight of human and environmental rights defenders in Latin America.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image2b.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image2b.png" alt="Berta Cáceres solidarity rally, Honduras 2016. Photo: Flickr/Daniel Cima/CIDH. CC BY 2.0. Some rights reserved. " title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Berta Cáceres solidarity rally, Honduras 2016. Photo: Flickr/Daniel Cima/CIDH. CC BY 2.0. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span>According to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/environmental-activists/defenders-annual-report/">Global Witness</a>, at least 207 human, land and environmental rights activists were murdered around the world in 2017 – 60% in Latin America. This region is also home to the country with the most recorded deaths: Brazil, where 57 people were killed, 80% defending the Amazon rainforest.</p><p dir="ltr">While most of these recorded murders were of men, the NGO noted that women activists also “faced gender-specific threats including sexual violence”.</p><p dir="ltr">It said in a report: “They were often subjected to smear-campaigns, threats against their children, and attempts to undermine their credibility; sometimes from within their own communities, where macho cultures might prevent women from taking up positions of leadership”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“They were often subjected to smear-campaigns, threats against their children, and attempts to undermine their credibility.”</p><p dir="ltr">The FAU network also monitors the situation of women defenders in the region and provides them with logistical and financial support. In 2018 they published <a href="https://fondoaccionurgente.org.co/site/assets/files/1073/resumen_ingles_web.pdf">another report</a> that highlighted the ongoing challenge of impunity for perpetrators of violence.</p><p dir="ltr">They also drew attention to the specific vulnerabilities and different types of violence that women activists face – including criminalisation, threats, harassment, attacks and femicides (gender-based killings of women and girls).</p><p dir="ltr">One of the cases covered in their report was that of Lottie Cunningham, at the Centre of Justice and Human Rights of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (<a href="http://cejudhcan.org/">CEJUDHCAN</a>) civil society organisation.</p><p dir="ltr">She works with more than 100 indigenous communities who've faced attacks, assassinations, kidnappings, crop burning and forced evictions. Denouncing these human rights violations has earned her repeated death threats.</p><p dir="ltr">One of the messages she received said: “In our country trash exists like these people who dedicate their lives to diffusing trash… against the government… I’m sick of these trash [people] and if I have to defend my blessed Nicaragua against this trash then it will be an honour to do so”. </p><p dir="ltr">Cunningham was also followed in the streets and told there were “rumours” she would be murdered.</p><p dir="ltr">Another case covered by FAU's report was that of Macarena “La Negra” Valdés, in Chile. In August 2016, one of her children found her hanged from the beams of her own home. She had also received death threats for months before this.</p><p dir="ltr">Valdés had campaigned against the construction of another hydroelectric power station by the Austrian-Chilean company Global Chile Energías Renovables, in Paso Tranguil, where she was a leader in her community, the Mapuche.</p><p dir="ltr">Her former partner, Ruben Collío, told 50.50 that Valdés&nbsp;was murdered in "a clear attempt to delegitimise our fight and try to make us react with violence”. He said: “It is so hard to ignore this basic instinct and fight them with their laws”.</p><p dir="ltr">Collío insisted she hadn't shown signs of depression, but authorities claimed her death was the result of suicide. He said her family requested a second autopsy – which showed that her body had been arranged to simulate this.</p><p dir="ltr">He is still <a href="https://www.facebook.com/JusticiaParaMacarenaValdes/">fighting for justice</a>. <a href="https://radio.uchile.cl/2018/08/19/a-dos-anos-de-su-muerte-aun-no-hay-justicia-para-macarena-valdes/">Two years after her death</a>, state prosecutors have not acknowledged the second autopsy; Collío and the Mapuche community continue to search for evidence to prove she was murdered.</p><p dir="ltr">At the regional level, the FAU is calling for the <a href="http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/68/181">UN resolution 68/181</a>, which was adopted by the general assembly in December 2013, and focuses on protecting women human rights defenders, to be enforced and respected.</p><p dir="ltr">Cases of violence must be better documented, FAU says. It's calling for new observatories to focus on this – as well as more thorough, independent investigations into threats against women defenders of land and human rights.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and economic justice women's movements violence against women gender Bérengère Sim Thu, 10 Jan 2019 08:44:42 +0000 Bérengère Sim 121119 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Don’t forget the working-class women who made suffragette history https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sian-norris/don-t-forget-working-class-women-who-made-suffragette-history <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A century after some UK women won the vote, most of the suffragette stories we hear still focus on the elite. But this was a diverse movement.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/SNs1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Black Friday suffrage protest. "><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/SNs1.png" alt="Black Friday suffrage protest. " title="Black Friday suffrage protest. " width="460" height="276" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Black Friday suffrage protest. Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.</span></span></span>In October 1909, the aristocratic suffragette <a href="http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/suffragettes-on-file/lady-constance-lytton/">Lady Constance Lytton</a> was arrested and sent to Newcastle prison. When the police discovered that she was the daughter of Lord Lytton, former Viceroy of India, they ordered her release after two days.</p><p dir="ltr">Along with her fellow militant suffragettes, Lytton had gone on hunger strike in protest at her arrest and the continued denial of the vote to women. But she was already in poor health and authorities feared she would die and become a martyr to the suffrage cause.</p><p dir="ltr"> This was one factor in the decision to release her. But <a href="https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/force-feeding-of-hunger-striking-suffragettes/93438.article?storycode=93438">Lytton believed</a> that her class and status had led to her release – that she received special treatment for this, with the police treating her with more politeness and delicacy compared to many others in the militant movement.</p><p dir="ltr">When Lytton next attended a protest, outside Walton Gaol, she <a href="https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/force-feeding-of-hunger-striking-suffragettes/93438.article?storycode=93438">disguised herself as a maid </a>called Jane Warton. She was arrested and, again, went on hunger strike. This time, however, rather than be released, she was force-fed by the police eight times.</p><p dir="ltr">Force feeding was a common, brutal form of torture used against suffragettes, with food poured down the throats of restrained women or through nasal tubes. There is some evidence that women were even force-fed <a href="https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/force-feeding-of-hunger-striking-suffragettes/93438.article?storycode=93438">anally</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Lytton’s poor health was still evident at the time of this arrest, but because she was assumed to be lower-class, the authorities did not care.</p><p dir="ltr">She wanted to expose different attitudes from the police towards working-class women – she wanted the world to know that while the rich escaped some measure of brutality, the police routinely harmed and tortured poorer women. </p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">While the rich escaped some measure of police brutality; the police routinely harmed and tortured poorer women.</p><p dir="ltr">It was this determination to show solidarity with her fellow women that led the militant suffragette <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-45918651">Annie Kenney</a> to write that Lytton’s: “passion and devotion for the working-class women was extraordinary”.</p><p dir="ltr">These acts of solidarity reflect a suffragette movement that was defined by cross-class activism, where members of the elite stood alongside working class women to expose institutionalised misogyny and fight for freedom.</p><p dir="ltr">I researched stories of suffragette cross-class solidarity, such as aristocrats like Constance Lytton working with survivors of child labour like Kenney, while the Ben Pimlott Writer In Residence at Birkbeck University of London. </p><p dir="ltr">What I found was diversity – among the suffragettes and the broader political issues they campaigned on. I also found a lot that resonates with feminist struggles today.</p><h2>Child labourer to suffragette</h2><p dir="ltr">When Kenney went to work in a factory as a child, it’s unlikely she imagined that, just a few years later, she’d be addressing rallies, taking on male politicians, facing imprisonment, or finally writing in her memoir that “in the end, we won”.</p><p dir="ltr">Indeed, in that memoir <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Memories-Militant-Annie-Kenney/dp/B00085T9BI">Memories Of A Militant</a>, she wrote that in her early years “politics did not interest me in the least”.</p><p dir="ltr">A “factory girl”, Kenney became a trade unionist, later on noting that there were “96,000 women members of the trade union and not any women officials”.</p><p dir="ltr">This inequality was of course reflected in the voting laws of her time, when the lives of half the population were regulated by male voters and MPs, without their input. It wasn’t until Kenney was 38 years old, in 1918, that some women won the vote.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image3suff.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image3suff.png" alt="Annie Kenney. Photo: Bain News Service / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain." title="" width="460" height="567" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Annie Kenney. Photo: Bain News Service / Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.</span></span></span>Kenney wasn’t unique in her position as a working-class woman fighting for the vote. She was joined by women like <a href="https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/the-leeds-suffragettes-who-valiantly-fought-for-women-s-right-to-vote-1-9202410">Mary Gawthorpe</a>, a fellow survivor of child labour who became a teacher and a union activist.</p><p dir="ltr">Gawthorpe had campaigned for free school meals and labour rights before the arrest of Kenney and the militant suffragette organisation Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) co-founder <a href="https://spartacus-educational.com/WpankhurstC.htm">Christabel Pankhurst</a> in October 1905 convinced her that the right to vote was needed to change things for women.</p><p dir="ltr">She quickly became a committed suffragette, writing to Christabel Pankhurst at this time that she “too was ready to go to prison”.</p><p dir="ltr">Cross-class solidarity mattered to Gawthorpe. In her book <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Suffrage-Days-Stories-Womens-Movement/dp/0415109426">Suffrage Days</a>, historian Sandra Stanley Holton wrote that Gawthorpe found "a unity of purpose in the suffrage movement which made social distinction seem of little importance”, and experienced “sexual solidarity with women from other classes”.</p><p dir="ltr">Gawthorpe was paid £2 a week by the WSPU to rally her fellow working-class women to the cause. In her memoir, fellow militant suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=21ZGDwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PT47&amp;lpg=PT47&amp;dq=throngs+of+mill+women+kept+up+the+chorus+in+broad+Yorkshire:+shall+we+win?+Shall+us+have+the+vote?+We+shall!&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=DvADlOWvl2&amp;sig=_U_4cA8a3eDVO41aQh5SNXC-gkg&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=2ahUKEwijltbPw5_fAhWkSRUIHbcbCIgQ6AEwA3oECAUQAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=throngs%20of%20mill%20women%20kept%20up%20the%20chorus%20in%20broad%20Yorkshire%3A%20shall%20we%20win%3F%20Shall%20us%20have%20the%20vote%3F%20We%20shall!&amp;f=false">recalled</a> one of their meetings where “throngs of mill women kept up the chorus in broad Yorkshire: ‘shall we win? Shall us have the vote? We shall!’”</p><p dir="ltr">One of the best-known members of the WSPU was Kenney, who travelled across the country rallying women to fight for the vote. Addressing crowds in Manchester, or heckling Winston Churchill at an electoral rally, she an electrifying speaker.</p><p dir="ltr">Like Gawthorpe, Kenney knew the importance of reaching out to the poorest in society. For them, the vote was not to be won for the rich or the elite. It had to be a tool which could change women’s lives wherever and however they lived. &nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">The vote was not to be won for the rich or the elite. It had to be a tool which could change women’s lives wherever and however they lived.</p><p dir="ltr">In her memoir, Kenney described with admiration the courage of women who joined the fight for the vote from the slums of London’s East End, amidst daily struggles with extreme poverty, reflected in their “thin, sallow, pinched, pain-stricken” faces.</p><p dir="ltr">Kenney thought that, through the struggle for suffrage, “we gave them [East End women] something to dream about, and a hope in the future”. She had felt this herself, describing with emotion how the movement “absolutely changed” her life and was a “school for experience... a chance for those who loved adventure”.</p><p dir="ltr">Kenney also spoke to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2018/oct/14/pit-brow-lasses-coal-mining-unsung-heroines-bishop-auckland-museum">Wigan pit girls</a>. These were women who worked in the coal mines in the town of Wigan, in the northwest of England. In 1908 they joined other suffragettes and campaigners in a historic march on parliament to demand the vote.</p><p dir="ltr">She knew that, for pit and factory girls like herself, risking arrest was a significant sacrifice. Working-class women – as Constance Lytton’s experiment exposed – were treated differently, and had more to lose, in prison and after.</p><p dir="ltr">But this didn’t stop the Wigan pit girls, and many other working-class women, who joined the movement despite these risks.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image5suff.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image5suff.png" alt="Sophia Duleep Singh. Photo: Unknown author/Museum of London/Wikimedia Commons. Public domain." title="" width="460" height="241" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Sophia Duleep Singh. Photo: Unknown author/Museum of London/Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.</span></span></span>Kenney also recalled taking “fishwives, pit brow girls, East End women, laundresses, teachers, nurses, tailoresses, factory girls” to meet MPs. At one protest, she described meeting a “tin plate worker who said she had come alone, and [had been] determined to come whether she got killed or not”.</p><p dir="ltr">These women are not the popular representations of the suffragettes as middle-class, ‘middle England’ women that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/12/suffragettes-white-middle-class-women-pankhursts">we are used to</a> in the UK. While we celebrate the work of famous and class-privileged suffragettes such as the Pankhursts, the brave women from the pits, slums and factories who marched alongside them, and risked so much, have often been erased from the story.</p><p dir="ltr">But women from all walks of life, including those from the poorest backgrounds, with the least political and social power, recognised the need for the vote, and were prepared to sacrifice their safety and freedom to get it. The real story of the suffragettes includes the poorest women standing up to the most powerful men in the country to demand a better future.</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, the <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/case-study-the-right-to-vote/the-right-to-vote/birmingham-and-the-equal-franchise/1918-representation-of-the-people-act/">1918 Representation of the People Act</a> denied those very women the vote by extending suffrage only to women over 30 years old who held property. It wasn’t until 1928 that all adult women won the right to vote. </p><h2>Beyond the vote</h2><p dir="ltr">Many suffragettes had radical aims that went beyond the vote. They saw suffrage as a tool to improve society for women’s economic and sexual as well as legal equality.</p><p dir="ltr">Lytton, in her 1909 satirical essay ‘<a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/21293281?q&amp;versionId=25441351">No Votes For Women</a>’, said that one argument against giving women the vote was that they didn’t contribute to society or the economy. Her stinging rebuke reflected Edwardian feminist views on unpaid labour.</p><p dir="ltr">“How could [men] be released and equipped for work”, she wrote, “but for the mother, wife, sister, daughter, who as housekeeper, cook, laundrywoman, needlewoman, nurse, who spare him the time and thought he would otherwise have to spend on these essential details of maintenance?”</p><p dir="ltr">Winning the vote was part of broader movements to build a better world for women – as it would give women a say in the laws that impacted them.</p><p dir="ltr">The UK’s most famous suffragette, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/pankhurst_emmeline.shtml">Emmeline Pankhurst</a>, made this argument in her 1913 <a href="http://spot.pcc.edu/~rflynn/HST_103/Online%20Readings/Pankhurst.html">article</a> ‘Why We Are Militant’, describing “women in my country who have spent long and useful lives trying to get reforms, and because of their voteless condition, they are unable even to get the ear of MPs, much less... secure those reforms”. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image1suff_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image1suff_0.png" alt="Suffragette Rosa Mae Billinghurst. Photo: LSE Library/Flickr. No known copyright restrictions." title="" width="460" height="291" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Suffragette Rosa Mae Billinghurst. Photo: LSE Library/Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.</span></span></span>The prison system was also a target of these women’s campaigns, for example. Following their arrests, suffragettes like Kenney and Lytton became even more determined to improve the conditions of women behind bars.</p><p dir="ltr">Kenney wrote in her 1907 <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/21293281?q&amp;versionId=25441351">article</a> ‘Prison Faces’ about the cruel treatment of pregnant inmates, which she also connected to women’s lack of the vote.</p><p dir="ltr">She declared: “Cowards! that you will allow laws to exist that will force a woman into prison on the eve of her confinement [an archaic term for going into labour] and at the same time withhold from all other women any power by which we could help abolish such a cruel and inhuman system”.</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Lytton campaigned to ensure that women in prison received “sanitary napkins” after Gawthorpe wrote about the “nauseating undergarment – stained in a revolting and suggestive manner” she was forced to wear during her detention.</p><p>She also wrote an influential book, <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prisons-Prisoners-Broadview-Editions-Constance/dp/155111593X">Prisons and Prisoners</a>, in 1914, exploring a range of different issues with the prison system.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image4suff.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image4suff.png" alt="Suffragettes carry a banner saying “690 imprisonments to win freedom for women”, 1911. Photo: LSE Library/Flickr. No known copyr" title="" width="460" height="286" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Suffragettes carry a banner saying “690 imprisonments to win freedom for women”, 1911. Photo: LSE Library/Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.</span></span></span>Both Lytton’s ‘No Votes For Women’ essay, and Pankhurst’s ‘Why We Are Militants’ article, also talked about prostitution – another key issue for some suffragettes.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">In Lytton’s essay in particular, we can see echoes of what’s now called “<a href="https://nordicmodelnow.org/what-is-the-nordic-model/">The Nordic Model</a>” – policies that decriminalise the sale of sex while criminalising the purchase.</p><p dir="ltr">The idea that men should take responsibility for the sexual exploitation of women, rather than seeing women in the sex industry as immoral or sinful, was pretty radical then, as today, while debates continue to rage about this issue.</p><p dir="ltr">Laws like the <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/4048453?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents">Contagious Diseases Act 1864</a> criminalised and stigmatised women who worked in the sex industry. Meanwhile, nineteenth century moral campaigners treated women in prostitution as “fallen” and in need of “saving”.</p><p dir="ltr">Neither was the case for suffragettes such as Lytton and Teresa Billington-Greig, who emphasised that a double standard was feeding this industry.</p><p dir="ltr">Lytton wrote in 1909: “If to provide the supply be so criminal, what about the demand?… Is it honourable to buy in the market where, according to universal principle, it is so ignoble to sell?”</p><p dir="ltr">I wouldn’t claim that all the suffragettes held radical views about the sex industry that identified this sexual double standard, male sexual entitlement, and the exploitation of women as drivers of women’s oppression.</p><p dir="ltr">There were suffragettes who would have shared punitive positions towards sex workers with the moral crusaders of their time – as well as those like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/04/kitty-marion-too-radical-even-for-the-suffragettes/">Kitty Marion who have recently been framed as “sex positive</a>” for their approach to the sex industry (a concept that I reject – all feminists are “positive” about women’s free expression of sexuality regardless of their views on this industry).</p><p dir="ltr">But I want to point out that the suffragettes were grappling with some of the same issues that feminists still campaign on today. They held diverse views on how to resolve women’s inequality, just as the current feminist movement does.</p><p dir="ltr">Whether it was about unpaid labour, prison conditions, or the sex industry, women like Lytton, Kenny and Gawthorpe promoted and campaigned for radical reforms for women that went beyond the right to vote. </p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">There’s no single narrative of the suffragettes.</p><p dir="ltr">There’s no single narrative of the suffragettes. These women came from different class backgrounds, fought for more than the right to the vote, and saw the battle for the franchise as a way to win greater equality.</p><p dir="ltr">A century since the 1918 act that began to widen the franchise to women, the suffrage movement has been (often rightly) accused of <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/2018/02/184233/suffragettes-racist-whitewashing-working-class">ignoring working class women</a>, and of being <a href="https://inews.co.uk/opinion/munroe-bergdorf-race-wrong-tory/">racist and white supremacist</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">But, the picture is more complicated than that. There is no doubt that many suffragettes held classist and racist views – Edwardian Britain (as Britain is today) was a classist, racist, society. </p><p dir="ltr">That some of our feminist foremothers held such views, and in some cases fought to repress other women, must be acknowledged. At the same time, criticisms of suffragettes have often led to an erasure of the radical working class women who fought for the vote. When criticising the movement for not being diverse, we run the risk of ignoring the diversity that did exist.</p><p dir="ltr">That powerful diversity brought together women from different classes, ethnicities and sexualities to challenge patriarchal power and build a fairer world. It’s that same patriarchal power which is invested in, and benefits from, silencing women’s stories – especially those of radical working class women.</p><p dir="ltr">While we must not be afraid to critique feminist movements on crucial issues of inclusivity and diversity, we must be careful not to collude in the patriarchal project of erasing the diverse voices that helped to make history. To do so is to silence those radical, working class women who risked everything for a fairer, more equal world.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* This essay was written by Sian Norris while the Ben Pimlott Writer In Residence at Birkbeck University of London.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/sian-norris/after-me-too-uk-government-sexual-abuse">After Me Too, can we trust the UK government to tackle sexual abuse?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sian-norris/excluded-stereotyped-abused-women-uk-politics-today">Excluded, stereotyped and abused: where do women stand in UK politics today? </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media women's movements women's human rights women and power patriarchy feminism Sian Norris Wed, 09 Jan 2019 09:29:43 +0000 Sian Norris 121118 at https://www.opendemocracy.net After Me Too, can we trust the UK government to tackle sexual abuse? https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sian-norris/after-me-too-uk-government-sexual-abuse <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>If our lawmakers fail to confront abuse in their own workplace, how do we trust them to enact effective policies for the rest of us?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/PA-33508211_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/PA-33508211_1.jpg" alt="Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom responds to questions about allegations sexual harassment at Westminster. Picture: PA. All " title="" width="460" height="247" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom responds to questions about allegations sexual harassment at Westminster. Picture: PA. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>On 12 December 2018, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2018/dec/12/tory-mps-trigger-vote-of-no-confidence-in-may-amid-brexit-uncertainty-politics-live">faced a ‘vote of no confidence</a>’ in her leadership. Her Conservative party MPs were invited to vote in a secret ballot, indicating whether they thought the prime minister should continue in her role. Conservative party rules stated that she would have to resign as party leader if she lost the vote.</p><p>May knew it was going to be a tight vote, as she needed the support of at least 159 out of 317 of her MPs to survive. The Conservative party then announced that two MPs who had previously been suspended following allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, Charlie Elphicke and Andrew Griffiths, would be <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46544328">reinstated ahead of the crucial vote</a>.</p><p>Earlier this year, the Sunday Times newspaper revealed that <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/conservative-mp-charlie-elphicke-accused-rape-allegation/">Elphicke had been accused of rape </a>by a former staff member. He had undergone a police interview under caution in March 2018, but no rape allegation was put to him on that occasion. Elphicke maintains his innocence and has <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/conservative-mp-charlie-elphicke-accused-rape-allegation/">denied any wrongdoing</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Griffiths had sent thousands of <a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-mp-andrew-griffiths-lewd-12919733">text messages to women in his constituency</a> including explicit comments like his desire to “beat” a woman during sex. He subsequently said he’d sent these texts while having <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/nov/04/tory-mp-andrew-griffiths-who-sexted-women-says-he-was-having-manic-episode">a manic episode</a>, and that he was “ashamed and embarrassed”.</p><p>The Labour party criticised the Conservatives for “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/12/tory-mps-suspended-over-sex-allegations-reinstated-for-confidence-vote">betraying</a>” women by reinstating the suspended MPs ahead of the vote. A year after a series of #MeToo allegations broke in parliament, in late 2017, this welcoming back of alleged harassers for political expediency begs the question: what has changed for women in politics? And can this government be trusted to pay more than lip service to our rights when it’s political crunch time?</p><p dir="ltr">On 12 December 2018, the UK Prime Minister Theresa May <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2018/dec/12/tory-mps-trigger-vote-of-no-confidence-in-may-amid-brexit-uncertainty-politics-live">faced a ‘vote of no confidence</a>’ in her leadership. Her Conservative party MPs were invited to vote in a secret ballot, indicating whether they thought the prime minister should continue in her role. Conservative party rules stated that she would have to resign as party leader if she lost the vote.</p><p dir="ltr">May knew it was going to be a tight vote, as she needed the support of at least 159 out of 317 of her MPs to survive. The Conservative party then announced that two MPs who had previously been suspended following allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, Charlie Elphicke and Andrew Griffiths, would be <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46544328">reinstated ahead of the crucial vote</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this year, the Sunday Times newspaper revealed that <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/conservative-mp-charlie-elphicke-accused-rape-allegation/">Elphicke had been accused of rape </a>by a former staff member. He had undergone a police interview under caution in March 2018, but no rape allegation was put to him on that occasion. Elphicke maintains his innocence and has <a href="https://inews.co.uk/news/conservative-mp-charlie-elphicke-accused-rape-allegation/">denied any wrongdoing</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Griffiths had sent thousands of <a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-mp-andrew-griffiths-lewd-12919733">text messages to women in his constituency</a> including explicit comments like his desire to “beat” a woman during sex. He subsequently said he’d sent these texts while having <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/nov/04/tory-mp-andrew-griffiths-who-sexted-women-says-he-was-having-manic-episode">a manic episode</a>, and that he was “ashamed and embarrassed”.</p><p>The Labour party criticised the Conservatives for “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/12/tory-mps-suspended-over-sex-allegations-reinstated-for-confidence-vote">betraying</a>” women by reinstating the suspended MPs ahead of the vote. A year after a series of #MeToo allegations broke in parliament, in late 2017, this welcoming back of alleged harassers for political expediency begs the question: what has changed for women in politics? And can this government be trusted to pay more than lip service to our rights when it’s political crunch time?</p><h2>Abuse in the lobby</h2><p dir="ltr">In October 2017, women around the world came forward under the MeToo banner, accusing powerful men of sexual assault, harassment and rape. From the Hollywood mogul <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2018/may/25/harvey-weinstein-latest-news-arrest-metoo-dam-burst-moment">Harvey Weinstein</a> to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/oct/21/bill-oreilly-32m-harassment-claim-fox-news-deal">news anchors</a>, <a href="http://www.thesecondsource.co.uk/">journalists</a>, and <a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/02/inside-wall-street-complex-shameful-and-often-confidential-battle-with-metoo">Wall Street bosses</a>, it wasn’t long before MeToo came to <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/westminster-sexual-harassment-scandal-abuse-kate-maltby-ava-etemadzedah-kelvin-hopkins-bridget-a8157241.html">Westminster</a> – the home of the UK parliament.</p><p dir="ltr">This year, a survey commissioned by MPs found one <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/westminster-sexual-harassment-one-five-report-leaked-mps-lords-staff-a8199401.html">in five people</a> working in parliament had experienced sexual harassment. Women reported twice as many cases as men.</p><p>Following disclosures of sexual harassment from the journalist <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/2017/nov/04/michael-fallon-lunged-at-me-jane-merrick">Jane Merrick</a> among other women, the defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon was the first to <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-41838682">resign from his ministerial post</a>, in November 2017, admitting his conduct may have “fallen short” of standards.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/PA-33852338.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/PA-33852338.jpg" alt="Sir Michael Fallon resigned from his UK cabinet position in 2017 following disclosures of sexual harassment. Image: PA. All righ" title="" width="460" height="311" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Sir Michael Fallon resigned from his UK cabinet position in 2017 following disclosures of sexual harassment. Image: PA. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>A few weeks later, the deputy prime minister Damian Green resigned amid allegations of <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/21/kate-maltby-told-pm-aide-damian-greens-pattern-behaviour/">inappropriate behaviour</a> towards a young Conservative party activist (which he <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/feb/20/damian-green-i-wasnt-inappropriate-to-kate-maltby">denied</a>). A parliamentary inquiry had found these allegations “<a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/downing-street-aware-damian-green-claims-kate-maltby-sexual-harassment-a8123651.html">plausible</a>” and that he’d previously made “misleading” statements about <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/damian-green-resigns-quits-latest-deputy-prime-minister-theresa-may-pornography-a8121271.html">pornography on his work</a> computer.</p><p dir="ltr">Over the last year, MPs, parliamentary staff, and activists from across parties have faced allegations of <a href="https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/welsh-mp-accused-sending-sexual-13826881">inappropriate behaviour,</a> <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/15/westminster-mps-treated-staff-like-servants-harassment-inquiry-finds">bullying</a>, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cw5m7rq7z8rt/westminster-harassment-scandal">sexual assault</a>, and <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-party-rape-bex-bailey-jeremy-corbyn-sexual-harassment-nec-assault-conference-a8541831.html">rape</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">The Financial Times journalist <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/5e6a296c-6e9e-11e8-92d3-6c13e5c92914">Laura Hughes exposed</a> wide-ranging abuses of power at parliament. One parliamentary staff member anonymously told Hughes that a Conservative MP had boasted that he’d had sex with researchers on her desk. Another former staffer told Hughes that she knew of 10 women who had been harassed at parliament.</p><p dir="ltr">With two MPs resigning from ministerial posts (although not their seats), and other MPs and party activists under investigation or facing allegations of misconduct, it had become clear to parliament by the end of 2017 that action needed to be taken to change a culture of widespread bullying and harassment at the heart of British politics.</p><p dir="ltr">The extent of the Westminster abuse scandal was chilling. It’s precisely these people in these corridors of power who make laws about violence against women and workplace sexual harassment. How could these lawmakers be trusted to create fair and just policies to protect people from sexual violence, when some were alleged perpetrators themselves?</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">How could these lawmakers be trusted to create fair and just policies to protect people from sexual violence?&nbsp;</p><div><p dir="ltr">Reports of sexual and sexually inappropriate behaviour are not new to the UK’s parliament. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">After the 1997 elections, which <a href="https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/parliament-and-elections/elections-elections/as-many-women-mps-ever-as-men-now/">doubled the number of women MPs</a>, researcher Professor Sarah Childs wrote <a href="https://www.amazon.com/New-Labours-Women-MPs-Representing/dp/0714656615">a book</a> about them. She quoted a report in The Times newspaper which said they “were subjected to sexual harassment: comments were made about women MPs ‘legs and breasts’ and when women MPs spoke in debates it was reported that Conservative MPs ‘put their hands out in front of them as if they are weighing melons’”.</p><p dir="ltr">But the MeToo movement threw harassment in Westminster under the spotlight, and the growing list of accusations meant that something finally had to change.</p><p dir="ltr">The leader of the House of Commons, Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom, set up a cross-party working group to investigate sexual misconduct at parliament. <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/offices/commons/media-relations-group/news/statement-on-dame-laura-coxs-report-into-the-bullying-and-harassment-of-house-of-commons-staff-/">A separate inquiry into bullying and harassment </a>of staff in parliament was launched by Dame Laura Cox.</p><p dir="ltr">In July 2018, Leadsom’s working group <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/documents/news/2018/1%20ICGP%20Delivery%20Report.pdf">published its findings</a> which highlighted the lack of an independent grievance and complaints procedures for people working in parliament. This meant, for example, that if a parliamentary researcher were harassed by their MP boss, they were supposed to report it to their “line manager” – that same MP.</p>As one lawyer, Meriel Schindler, put it to Hughes at the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/5e6a296c-6e9e-11e8-92d3-6c13e5c92914">Financial Times</a>: “it’s almost as if MPs are like unregulated sole traders”.<p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“It’s almost as if MPs are like unregulated sole traders”.</p></div><div><p dir="ltr">The working group’s report introduced a new “<a href="https://www.parliament.uk/documents/news/2018/1%20ICGP%20Delivery%20Report.pdf">behaviour code</a>” for parliament, underpinned by an independent complaints procedure. It said that implementing this code would require training as well as human resources support, and called for a “cultural change” in parliament.</p><p dir="ltr">The code states that MPs and staff should “respect and value everyone”; that they should “recognise their power, influence or authority and not abuse them” and “think about how your behaviour affects others and strive to understand their perspective”.</p><p dir="ltr">“Bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct are not tolerated”, it insists. “Unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with seriously, independently and with effective sanctions”.</p><p dir="ltr">Importantly, the working group noted that sexual harassment is “qualitatively different from other forms of unacceptable behaviour, including bullying and non-sexual harassment”.</p><p dir="ltr">Confronting this “therefore requires its own set of procedures and personnel”, said its report, which recommended that an Independent Sexual Misconduct Advocate should be contracted to support those reporting harassment.</p><h2>What’s really changed?</h2><p dir="ltr">Can the government be trusted to put its own recommendations into practice? Or does the reinstatement of Elphicke and Griffiths, ahead of a crucial vote the prime minister needed to win, demonstrate that women’s rights are easily brushed aside when politics demand?</p><p dir="ltr">The reinstatement of these MPs isn’t the first example of political manoeuvering amid abuse allegations. Earlier this year, bullying allegations against the speaker of the House of Commons, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/may/03/john-bercow-further-bullying-claims-emerge-against-house-of-commons-speaker">John Bercow</a>, were used as political footballs by his opponents and supporters.</p><p dir="ltr">In an article for the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/20/john-bercow-is-not-the-man-to-fix-the-house-he-should-go">Guardian</a>, a Labour MP wrote that many of her fellow parliamentarians “hate John Bercow and wanted rid of him and used the report as their opportunity”. They see victims of harassment as a “toy for them to play with for political and tribal ends”, she said.</p>Meanwhile, those who wanted Bercow to stay called it the “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/16/john-bercow-to-stand-down-as-commons-speaker-in-wake-of-bullying-inquiry">wrong time</a>” to change speaker.<p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">They see victims of harassment as a “toy for them to play with for political and tribal ends”.</p><p dir="ltr">Accusations of sexual misconduct have also rocked parliament’s House of Lords. </p><p dir="ltr">In <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46227662">November 2017</a>, the Liberal Democrat Peer and human rights lawyer, Lord Lester, was accused of sexual harassment by a women’s rights campaigner Jasvinder Sanghera. The <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/standards-and-financial-interests/house-of-lords-commissioner-for-standards-/house-of-lords-commissioner-for-standards-/">House of Lords Commissioner for Standards</a> conducted an investigation, upheld her complaint, and determined that Lester should be suspended for five years.</p><p dir="ltr">However, on 15 November 2018, Lester’s ally Lord Pannick <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/nov/15/peers-block-lord-lesters-suspension-over-harassment-claims">voted to block the proposed suspension</a>. Pannick accused the Commissioner of not acting “<a href="https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2018-11-15/debates/2833F584-59E3-4E3E-89E0-4F67CEDD6635/PrivilegesAndConduct">in accordance with the principles of natural justice and fairness</a>” in her handling of the case.</p><p dir="ltr">In response, a House of Lords committee responsible for members’ privileges and conduct published a damning <a href="https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201719/ldselect/ldprivi/252/252.pdf">report</a> on 12 December on how Lester’s case had been handled. Among other things, it expressed concern that the debate over Pannick’s amendment risked putting other women off reporting sexual misconduct in the future.</p><p dir="ltr">The report noted how during the debate, Lester’s supporters used their positions to “make wholly inappropriate comments about [Sanghera’s] character and behaviour”. It said: “We are concerned that some of the contributions to the debate will have deterred other victims of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct from coming forward”. </p><p dir="ltr">One of the report’s footnotes adds that the committee’s “attention [was drawn] to the fact that in the <a href="https://hansard.parliament.uk/Lords/2018-11-15/debates/2833F584-59E3-4E3E-89E0-4F67CEDD6635/PrivilegesAndConduct">debate</a> on 15 November, ‘reputation’ was invoked positively 15 times to describe Lord Lester. It was not invoked once to describe the complainant. At the same time, the complainant’s credibility and motivations were questioned”.</p><p dir="ltr">This is important – so often in these cases, while men’s reputations are defended, women are deemed to lack credibility, or accused of having ulterior motivations. This obstructs women’s access to justice and can put women off reporting sexual misconduct or violence.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Sanghera <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/nov/15/peers-block-lord-lesters-suspension-over-harassment-claims">said</a> that the investigation against Lord Lester had been thorough, and by blocking his suspension the House of Lords “undermined the whole process, and undermined the commissioner and me”. It also “undermined victims”, she added, saying that she wouldn’t advise other women to report cases of harassment if this is how they respond.</p><p dir="ltr">Lester did eventually <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46533883">resign</a>, though he maintains his innocence. A <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/17/lords-approves-motion-censuring-anthony-lester-sexual-harassment">further debate on 17 December </a>censured him – but as he had already resigned, he cannot face any sanctions in parliament. Meanwhile, Lester’s is not an isolated case. Rather it typifies the problems women face when reporting sexual misconduct against powerful men in government.</p><h2>What’s next?</h2><p dir="ltr">From reinstating MPs ahead of a crucial vote, to treating bullying allegations against Bercow as a political football, the UK parliament has not inspired much confidence in its ability to seriously handle accusations of misconduct and abuse.</p><p dir="ltr">Although two men did resign their ministerial posts following accusations of sexual harassment, they have remained MPs. One wonders what Sir Michael Fallon’s constituents make of his admission that his conduct may have “fallen short” of standards as defence secretary, while apparently deciding that he was still suitable to represent them.</p><p dir="ltr">The case of Lord Lester meanwhile highlights how the way sexual harassment claims are handled may influence whether other women will report cases in the future.</p><p dir="ltr">While it is positive that new complaints procedures are now in place at parliament – thanks in part to the work of feminist campaigners – if women do not believe their allegations will be listened to and respected, then many still won’t come forward.</p><p dir="ltr">Going into 2019, it remains alarming that those responsible for making laws on issues like violence against women and girls seem unable to deal with them in their own workplace.</p></div><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sian-norris/excluded-stereotyped-abused-women-uk-politics-today">Excluded, stereotyped and abused: where do women stand in UK politics today? </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 uk Democracy and government Equality International politics World Forum for Democracy 2018 women and power violence against women Sexual violence women's work Sian Norris Sat, 22 Dec 2018 11:04:27 +0000 Sian Norris 121075 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Excluded, stereotyped and abused: where do women stand in UK politics today? https://www.opendemocracy.net/sian-norris/excluded-stereotyped-abused-women-uk-politics-today <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>100 years since (some) women won the right to vote, they’re still marginalised in corridors of our power – and facing a backlash there too.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image5sn_1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image5sn_1.png" alt="Feminists protest in Westminster, in 2012, dressed as suffragettes. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images. All rights rese" title="" width="460" height="292" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Feminists protest in Westminster, in 2012, dressed as suffragettes. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Visitors at Westminster Hall are now welcomed into the British Houses of Parliament by a stained glass installation called “<a href="https://marybranson.com/newdawn/">New Dawn</a>”. Created in 2016 by the artist Mary Branson, and measuring six metres high, it’s an eye-catching, colourful celebration of the mass movement for women’s suffrage in the UK.</p><p dir="ltr">But how did Westminster exclude women before and after the 1918 Representation of the People’s Act? (Which widened the right to vote to include women over 30 years old, along with all men; it wasn’t until 1928 that all women won this right). And how does British politics continue to exclude women today?</p><p dir="ltr">Before an 1834 fire necessitated the reconstruction of the Palace of Westminster, women weren’t allowed to set foot in the House. Men – including those not permitted to vote – could attend debates and sit in the public gallery.</p><p dir="ltr">Women were shut out of the business of politics altogether, and couldn’t bear witness to the debates and discussions that happened between men in power.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image4sn.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image4sn.png" alt="The Houses of Parliament at Westminster. Photo: UK Parliament/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Some rights reserved." title="" width="460" height="289" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The Houses of Parliament at Westminster. Photo: UK Parliament/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Some celebrated women still got involved in politics. Georgiana Spencer, the Duchess of Devonshire, for example, actively campaigned for male MPs, leaders and political parties. But even a woman as influential as Spencer wasn’t allowed into parliament to watch the men she advocated for debate.</p><p dir="ltr">Man-made laws have never prevented women from fighting for their rights. <a href="https://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/electionsvoting/womenvote/parliamentary-collections/collections-19thc-and-suffragists/ventilator/">In the early 1800s, women found</a> a way to break through the patriarchal barriers that kept them out of the Houses of Parliament. They climbed into the building’s loft and watched the day's debates through an air vent.</p><p dir="ltr">At first, these women were removed from their perch by parliamentary guards. But, over time, their presence became known and even tolerated. Political activists brought influential women to the loft to watch the debates below, including the UK’s first woman doctor, Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson. </p><p dir="ltr">Women had breached the House – and would continue to do so.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image2sn.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image2sn.png" alt="Watercolour sketch showing the ventilator, Palace of Westminster, attributed to Lady Georgiana Chatterton c.1821 (c) by permissi" title="" width="460" height="566" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Watercolour sketch showing the ventilator, Palace of Westminster, attributed to Lady Georgiana Chatterton c.1821 (c) by permission of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. </span></span></span></p><h2 dir="ltr"><span>From the roof to the floor</span></h2><p dir="ltr">Following the great fire of 1834, the restored Houses of Parliament welcomed women into the public gallery for the first time.</p><p dir="ltr">No longer trapped in the smelly, hot and confined space of the loft, they could now watch debates from a gallery behind the speaker’s chair. But they still didn’t sit on equal footing to men, and were confined behind sturdy metal grills.</p><p dir="ltr">The all-male MPs were concerned that the presence of women would be “distracting”; their bodies were hidden away in order not to divert the men’s attention from the business of the day.</p><p dir="ltr">This seclusion of women in parliament in the nineteenth century reflected elements of Victorian prudery – the old myths about men being overwhelmed by the sight of a shapely ankle. How far have we moved on from this?</p><p dir="ltr">The prominent conservative journalist Toby Young, for example,<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jan/03/toby-young-quotes-on-breasts-eugenics-and-working-class-people"> famously tweeted</a> about the “serious cleavage” of an MP sat behind then Labour leader Ed Miliband.</p><p>How welcome are women in British politics today, when their bodies are still scrutinised and treated as distractions – much as they were in the 1840s?</p><h2><span>Women in the House </span></h2><p dir="ltr">In the early twentieth century, militant suffragettes chained themselves to the metal grills in parliament during a protest – using a structure designed to exclude them from political debates as a tool in their struggle for inclusion.</p><p dir="ltr">Westminster’s walls – or in this case, its grills – were starting to fall.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image3sn.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image3sn.png" alt="A suffragette protest. Photo: Unknown author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons." title="" width="460" height="314" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A suffragette protest. Photo: Unknown author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.</span></span></span>On 21 November 1918, a law was passed allowing women to stand for election. It was a historic change. However, due to her political affiliation, the first woman MP, Countess Constance Markievicz, refused to take her seat.</p><p dir="ltr">This act of protest is one that members of the Northern Irish Republican party <a href="http://www.sinnfein.ie/newsroom">Sinn Fein</a> – to which the Countess belonged – still follows today, <a href="https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/04/why-don-t-irish-mps-sit-parliament">in protest of parliament’s jurisdiction</a> in Northern Ireland and its oath to the Queen.</p><p dir="ltr">As a result, the Houses of Parliament didn’t have to worry too much about including women in their space – at first. But that soon changed, with the election of Lady Nancy Astor in 1919. </p><p dir="ltr">Now, there was a Lady Member of the House, who required a Lady Members’ Room in which to work and rest.</p><p dir="ltr">Unlike the Members’ Room for men, it was tiny. As more and more women MPs were elected, they had to sit on the floor in increasingly crowded conditions, notebooks balanced on their knees, struggling to get work done.</p><p dir="ltr">Women MPs from opposing parties had to work in close proximity. While one assumes there was some camaraderie between them, it’s hardly practical to prepare for political debates cheek-by-jowl with the opposition.</p><p dir="ltr">The crowded conditions of the Lady Members’ Room sent a clear message to women MPs: women were to be tolerated in parliament, not welcomed.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Women were to be tolerated in parliament, not welcomed.</p><div><p dir="ltr">Throughout the twentieth century, more women entered parliament, but their numbers remained low. Then came the historic 1997 election in which 120 women won seats – changing the makeup of British politics forever.</p><p dir="ltr">This election doubled the number of women in parliament overnight (only 60 had won seats in the previous 1992 elections). More than 80% of these 1997 women MPs came from the Labour party (101), followed by the Conservatives (13), the Liberal Democrats (three) and the Scottish National Party (two).</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image7sn.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image7sn.jpg" alt="Tony Blair and the 1997 influx of Labour women into parliament. Credit: Michael Crabtree/PA Archive/PA Images. All rights reserv" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Tony Blair and the 1997 influx of Labour women into parliament. Credit: Michael Crabtree/PA Archive/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The larger number of women MPs required significant changes to the Houses of Parliament. An old men’s changing room was turned into a women’s loos. A decade later, a parliamentary bar was closed down and replaced by a crèche.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The presence of the formerly excluded in such greater numbers was symbolic and appeared to demonstrate that, finally, women were seen as the equals of men. But it wasn’t so simple. Forces still worked hard to exclude women.&nbsp;</p><h2>“Babies in a playpen”&nbsp;</h2><p dir="ltr">After the 1997 ‘Labour landslide’, women held 19% of the seats in parliament, which was remained dominated by adversarial, aggressive debates and what some consider a very “male” or macho style of politics.</p><p dir="ltr">One woman MP elected that year<a href="https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C5CHFA_enIT783IT783&amp;ei=WlgUXLXUAcLVkwXXuqeoCA&amp;q=New+Labour%27s+Women+MPs%3A+Women+Representing+Women+routeledge&amp;oq=New+Labour%27s+Women+MPs%3A+Women+Representing+Women+routeledge&amp;gs_l=psy-ab.3...805.2343..2638...0.0..0.234.1839.0j9j2......0....1..gws-wiz.0Zy0f0EqZG0"> told Professor Sarah Childs</a> that “a premium is put upon what is predominantly a male style of political practice, which is quite aggressive… a debating society style which men are often much better at, have more confidence in doing and are taught more to do”.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image6sn.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image6sn.png" alt="A 2018 protest calling for women’s equal representation in parliament. Photo: Garry Knight/Flickr. CC0 1.0. Public domain." title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A 2018 protest calling for women’s equal representation in parliament. Photo: Garry Knight/Flickr. CC0 1.0. Public domain.</span></span></span>Many women MPs have been disheartened by the old-style politics that relied on masculine models of elite Oxford and Cambridge university debating societies. They told Childs how parliament was still a “boys club” that relied on “hitting the bars together and drunks going through the lobby at 10 pm”.</p><p dir="ltr">They argued that women’s different experiences should change how MPs conduct politics, moving away from what one called “babies in a playpen” debates to a more "feminine" or feminist approach.</p><p dir="ltr">But women found their colleagues punished them for not adopting the macho style that had shaped the House for hundreds of years. One MP told Childs how party whips said she was “too quiet”, without “enough barracking and shouting”.</p><p dir="ltr">Women MPs were accused of “whinging” about “laddish” behaviour and depicted in the media as unable to cope with the pressures of politics. This re-enforced assumptions about the unsuitability of women for political life. Women were in the House, but too many still questioned whether they should be.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Women were in the House, but too many still questioned whether they should be.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">An egregious example of this behaviour came in 1997, when those 120 women entered Westminster.</p><p dir="ltr">According to a report in The Times newspaper, they “were subjected to sexual harassment: comments were made about women MPs ‘legs and breasts’ and when women MPs spoke in debates it was reported that Conservative MPs ‘put their hands out in front of them as if they are weighing melons’”.</p><p dir="ltr">As we know from recent #MeToo allegations, which led to the resignations of former defence secretary <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/04/michael-fallon-defence-secretary-sexual-harassment">Sir Michael Fallon</a> and former deputy prime minister <a href="https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/real-life/damian-green-resignation-kate-maltby/">Damian Green</a>, parliament has not yet eradicated such behaviour.</p><p dir="ltr">Sexual harassment within the UK’s political structures remains a deliberate tactic to exclude women and reinforce male dominance in Westminster.</p><h2>Women representing women&nbsp;</h2><p dir="ltr">The election of more women into parliament has created new spaces where so-called “women’s issues” can be discussed in political life.</p><p dir="ltr">Before the 1997 election, some women MPs told Childs that “ministers were already responding to the pressure emanating from women”, and that “issues previously classified as ‘women’s issues’ such as education and the welfare state, [had] been prioritised as central issues by the current government”.</p><p dir="ltr">In her foreword to Childs’ book, <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/New-Labours-Women-MPs-Representing/dp/0714656615">New Labour’s Women MPs</a>, the Labour MP for Peckham Harriet Harman wrote about how women’s dramatically increased representation in parliament “changed the definition of what is political”.</p><p dir="ltr">It meant that issues like childcare, rape, domestic abuse and gendered labour were no longer fringe concerns – they were increasingly mainstream politics.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image8sn.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image8sn.jpg" alt="Harriet Harman in 1998, as social security secretary, with women pensioners in south London. Photo: Sean Dempsey//PA Archive/PA " title="" width="460" height="316" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Harriet Harman in 1998, as social security secretary, with women pensioners in south London. Photo: Sean Dempsey//PA Archive/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>More women within government ministries also meant new opportunities for women’s perspectives to be included in these spaces, long controlled by men.</p><p dir="ltr">One example is the transport department, which had previously overlooked the gendered impacts of its policies. As one MP told Childs, this department’s ministers hadn’t thought about building policies that benefited women because it had been “so long since they got their buggies and tried to get on a bus”.</p><p dir="ltr">Including more women in parliament has led to more women-focused policies – though it doesn’t always follow that women parliamentarians will always represent women’s interests – in part as “women’s interests” are so varied.</p><p dir="ltr">Women are diverse and may experience different, overlapping forms of discrimination based on their race, religion, disability, class, and sexuality. These realities are still underrepresented in parliament.</p><p dir="ltr">If women’s interests are to be truly represented in UK politics, women who are openly gay, working class, disabled, or from black and minority ethnic communities, must be encouraged to stand for election and participate.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image1sn_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image1sn_0.png" alt="2018 March for Women in London. Photo: Garry Knight/Flickr. CC0 1.0. Public domain." title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>2018 March for Women in London. Photo: Garry Knight/Flickr. CC0 1.0. Public domain.</span></span></span>At the same time, women MPs have historically been wary of being pigeon-holed or portrayed as representing women only. Some women MPs in the 1997 intake, for example, &nbsp;told Childs they had to “distance themselves from women’s issues” because those who don’t “face criticism for doing so”.</p><p dir="ltr">They argued that “women MPs were acting in a hostile environment, one where acting for women has accompanying costs”. Later years have seen some progress on this front – though it remains true that having a woman MP will not guarantee feminist or woman-friendly views and policies.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Having a woman MP will not guarantee feminist or woman-friendly views and policies.</p><p dir="ltr">The number of women MPs has continued to grow since the 1997 election, with a <a href="https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN01250">record of 208</a> elected at the 2017 election. But this is just 32% of parliament’s seats, and women are still campaigning for equal representation.</p><p dir="ltr">A lack of baby-friendly policies is a one example of how women are still shut out of politics. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/19/tory-whip-julian-smith-urged-to-explain-pairing-breach-that-caused-serious-damage">A recent scandal</a> showed how urgently change is needed for women to feel they can participate in parliament without being penalised for pregnancy.</p><p dir="ltr">This year, the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson was unable to attend a key Brexit vote having just given birth. But she had entered into a “pairing” pact with an opposing Conservative MP, who agreed not to vote either, to cancel out the fact that she would be absent. Then, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jul/18/maternity-leave-error-scrutiny-commons-proxy-voting-jo-swinson">he went ahead and voted</a> anyway.</p><p dir="ltr">Parliament depends on rules and breaking them like this suggests that MPs are prepared to play dirty to win. Now, women MPs are pushing for <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/mps-baby-leave-proxy-votes-six-months-new-parents-men-women-18th-century-voting-attendance-a8189431.html">baby leave</a> and proxy voting for heavily pregnant women and new mothers.</p><p dir="ltr">This would end one aspect of gender discrimination in parliament, making sure that all women can remain involved in decision-making without having to rely on the pairing system. This is good news; it's a long-overdue change.</p><h2>A toxic culture</h2><p dir="ltr">Misogynistic online abuse is a further, ongoing scandal that continues to exclude women from political spaces. </p> <p dir="ltr">Women MPs receive a disproportionate amount of this abuse, particularly BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) women.</p> <p dir="ltr">During the 2017 general election campaigns, the veteran Labour MP Diane Abbott, received <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/05/diane-abbott-more-abused-than-any-other-mps-during-election">half</a> of all the abuse sent to women MPs online.</p> <p dir="ltr">She <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/14/diane-abbott-misogyny-and-abuse-are-putting-women-off-politics">warned</a> that risks of such harassment can deter women from entering politics in the first place, and that “even the young, recklessly fearless Diane Abbott might have paused for thought”.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image9sn_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image9sn_0.png" alt="Veteran Labour MP Diane Abbott, in 1987. Photo: Sport and General/S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive. All rights reserved." title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Veteran Labour MP Diane Abbott, in 1987. Photo: Sport and General/S&G Barratts/EMPICS Archive. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>A <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/intimidation-in-public-life-a-review-by-the-committee-on-standards-in-public-life">recent UK government report</a> on Intimidation In Public Life similarly warned that online abuse is limiting women’s political participation. It outlined suggested responses from political parties, the police and others. But it presented overly-modest or vague proposals on how to respond to this massive problem.</p> <p dir="ltr">The report asked social media companies, for example, to “implement tools to tackle online intimidation through user options” and “do more to prevent users being inundated with hostile messages on their platforms”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Women’s inclusion in politics is not inevitable.</p><p dir="ltr">We have come a long way since women snuck into the Houses of Parliament to watch political debates through an air vent in the loft. But we cannot afford to rest on our laurels when it comes to women’s inclusion in politics.</p><p dir="ltr">Polls before the 2017 election had <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/News/uk/politics/election-poll-latest-tory-win-results-corbyn-theresa-may-a7777781.html">predicted</a> a Conservative party landslide, with Labour politicians slated to lose a significant number of seats – and women’s representation set to shrink for the first time since 2001.</p><p dir="ltr">This did not happen, and Labour’s better-than-expected result led to a small increase in the number of women MPs instead. But it was a near miss.</p><p dir="ltr">There's a tendency to assume that progress happens in one way and one way only – that once we start to see more women or minorities included in public life, that their representation will just continue to get better and better.</p><p dir="ltr">In contrast, 2017 offered us a stark warning – that women’s inclusion in politics is not inevitable. It’s taken a lot of work to get us to where we are today. And it will take more work to bring more women into parliament.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* This essay was written by Sian Norris while the Ben Pimlott Writer In Residence at Birkbeck University of London.</em></p></div><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/raksha-kumar/me-too-india-succeeding-at-last">Why the ‘Me Too’ movement in India is succeeding at last</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/nandini-archer/julienne-lusenge-congo-sexual-violence-metoo">‘Now, every woman knows she needs to fight violence everywhere’</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/sophie-hemery/were-seeing-backlash-to-policies-against-online-violence">&#039;We&#039;re seeing a backlash to policies against online violence&#039;</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/gender-equality-in-europe-advancing-at-snail-s-pace">Gender equality in Europe ‘advancing at snail’s pace’</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 World Forum for Democracy 2018 Sian Norris Wed, 19 Dec 2018 09:05:31 +0000 Sian Norris 121028 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Feminist comedians are laughing at privilege – and it’s funny https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/feminist-comedians-laughing-at-privilege-its-funny <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Comedy that targets oppressed groups is outdated. These feminists are using humour to speak truth to power.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRFH1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRFH1.png" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Comedian Tig Notario at the Family Equality Council's Impact Awards (California, 2017). Photo: Family Equality/Flickr. CC BY-ND 2.0.</span></span></span>This summer, an old debate broke out again in Spain: should we put limits on humour? This time it was prompted by <a href="https://verne.elpais.com/verne/2018/08/27/articulo/1535376700_647287.html">a monologue</a> from comedian Rober Bodegas in which he mocked gypsies that steal cars, don’t know how to write, and marry 13-years-old girls. </p><p dir="ltr">The comedian <a href="https://www.20minutos.es/noticia/3425281/0/colectivos-gitanos-denuncian-rober-bodegas-polemico-monologo/">was accused of racism</a> by gypsy people, whereas some of his colleagues <a href="https://www.mundodeportivo.com/elotromundo/gente/20180828/451518136212/rober-bodegas-jose-corbacho-dani-mateo-chiste-gitanos-humorista-amenazas-muerte.html">defended him</a>, arguing that humour’s purpose is to provoke and transgress social rules. Even if Bodegas was laughing at archaic stereotypes, they said, people should have taken it with humour and as a simple joke.</p><p dir="ltr">After receiving <a href="https://twitter.com/roberbodegas/status/1033793951034171393">more than 400 death threats</a>, according to Bodegas, and thousands of angry comments on Twitter, he apologised and the video of his monologue was removed – but the questions it raised remain live. </p><p dir="ltr">Jorge Cremades previously provoked a similar debate. He became famous with comic videos featuring a raft of sexist clichés. On Facebook, he has seven million followers. In June 2017, feminist groups asked people <a href="https://www.elperiodico.com/es/ocio-y-cultura/20170609/jorge-cremades-boicot-feministas-teatre-borras-6096063">to boycott</a> his show at a Barcelona theatre, calling him “macho and patriarchal”.</p><p dir="ltr">What’s the right answer? Should we stop making or ban jokes about groups that experience discrimination, or should we give comedians complete freedom to laugh at whatever and whoever they’d like?</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vY-Vly-qlw">According to presenter and comedian David Broncano</a>, jokes can’t be limited as there will always be someone offended by them. I understand his point: censuring some topics is contrary to the transgressive nature of humour.</p><p dir="ltr">But who says we must censure topics? When oppressed groups react against a joke, it doesn’t mean they want to put up limits in humour. The demand is rather that comedians bear in mind from which position are they making these jokes, and understand the effect of such a powerful weapon as humour. </p><h2 dir="ltr"> 'Such a powerful weapon' </h2><p dir="ltr">Humour is instrumental. That is, it can serve different purposes depending on how we use it. Usually we think about it as a way to make someone crack up by destroying social rules, but it can be used to marginalise people too. </p><p dir="ltr">“Who are the protagonists of most jokes? People that are excluded… Humour is used also to put people in [their] place”, said <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy3iH0QQnvI">Asunción Bernárdez</a>, director of the <a href="https://www.ucm.es/investigacionesfeministas/presentacion">Instituto de Investigaciones Feministas</a>, earlier this year.</p><p dir="ltr">In other words: when a comedian laughs at discriminated groups from a privileged position, what he is doing is re-emphasising difference and relativising the oppression that these groups suffer. </p><p dir="ltr">What outrages people is not the single jokes of a single comedian; it is the pervasive discrimination that comes to light through these jokes. The problem is not a comedian making a racist or sexist joke, the problem is a racist and sexist society that puts him on prime time and laughs along with him.</p><p dir="ltr">When you understand the violence behind humour that, using the excuse of being transgressive, plays with racism, sexism or homophobia, it starts to provoke anger instead of laughter. And you realise that making fun of oppressed people is the least transgressive thing you can do.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRFH2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRFH2.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="304" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Maysoon Zayid in her TED Women talk (San Francisco, 2013). Photo: TED Conference/Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0.</span></span></span>Against easy humour that uses stereotypes to laugh at others, the feminist writer Brigitte Vasallo <a href="http://www.pikaramagazine.com/2015/04/quien-teme-a-la-satira-lesbofeminista/">proposes to “point inside or to point up</a>” – and laugh about yourself or those who are more powerful than you. </p><p dir="ltr">This is not utopian; there are already feminist comedians that can make you cry with laughter like <a href="http://patriciasornosa.com/videos">Patricia Sornosa</a>, <a href="https://www.netflix.com/es/title/80101493">Ali Wong</a> or <a href="http://tignation.com/">Tig Notaro</a>. And some of them talk about minorities and oppressed groups too.</p><p dir="ltr">“If there was an Oppression Olympics, I would win the gold medal. I'm Palestinian, Muslim, I'm female, I'm disabled... and I live in New Jersey,” is how actor Maysoon Zayid starts <a href="https://www.ted.com/talks/maysoon_zayid_i_got_99_problems_palsy_is_just_one?language=en">I got 99 problems and palsy is just one</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Zayid can make fun of her conditions and express irony that is actually empowering. This is what feminist humour is about.</p><p dir="ltr">Making fun of the privileged is not new for Spanish comedians who openly mock governments and establishments. But most are men who seem to have forgotten to laugh about themselves – and patriarchy.</p><p dir="ltr">Artist Lula Gómez commented on this in one of her feminist <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-xm-0nNIGck&amp;feature=youtu.be">videos</a> called “Eres una caca” (You are poop): “Maybe unconsciously, maybe not, but they aren’t able to make jokes about their own privileges as men”. </p><p dir="ltr">Some people might not agree with my analysis. At least, you should agree with me that humour consists of distorting reality and, to do this, we need to start from the same reality, from the same common point. </p><p dir="ltr">When we make a joke, we must take into account the social context in which we make it, and we know that a lot of people are still discriminated against in our reality. That should be our common starting point.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Ideas </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Spain Culture Equality Ideas World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media patriarchy feminism everyday feminism young feminists Rocío Ros Rebollo Fri, 14 Dec 2018 07:56:20 +0000 Rocío Ros Rebollo 120314 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How one woman is mapping femicides in Mexico https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/b-reng-re-sim/how-one-woman-is-mapping-femicides-in-mexico <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>From her home and cafés in Mexico City, María Salguero is filling in the gaps left by official data on gender-related killings.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/BS1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/BS1.png" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Pink crosses mark the site where eight women's bodies were found in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Iose. CC BY-SA 3.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Whenever María Salguero, 40, has a moment to herself, she sifts through her Google Alerts and the local news in Mexico for reports of femicides. </p><p dir="ltr">This unusual pastime began in 2016 when Salguero, a human rights activist and geophysical engineer by training, decided to build <a href="https://feminicidiosmx.crowdmap.com/">a map tracking cases of femicide</a>, and filling in the gaps left by official data, in her spare time. </p><p dir="ltr">Femicide (also referred to as feminicide) is the deliberate killing of a woman or girl because of their gender. <a href="http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2017/2/take-five-adriana-quinones-femicide-in-latin-america">UN Women</a>, the United Nations’ gender equality organisation, notes that these gender-related murders may follow other violent acts including domestic abuse, describing the context in Latin America as one of “high tolerance” towards such “normalised” attacks.</p><p dir="ltr">In a café in central Mexico City earlier this year, Salguero told me that she “had already worked on a map of people who are disappeared [in Mexico]”, referring to the tens of thousands of missing women, men and children in the country, believed to have been abducted and likely tortured or killed. In 2018, the government’s own figures counted more than <a href="https://www.animalpolitico.com/2018/10/mexico-desaparecidos-sistema-incompleto-recursos-suficientes/">37,000 ‘desaparecidos’</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">While working on this map, Salguero said, she “noticed that there were more and more articles about women who were being murdered”. Around the same time, some of her friends, who are journalists, told her that they were having trouble quantifying and tracking the number of femicides. </p><p>“Building a database is not that hard, nor is georeferencing it, I told them… I started my own”, Salguero explained. Over the last two years, her work has had a significant impact. Mexico’s mainstream press has <a href="https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/estados/de-53-feminicidios-en-q-roo-autoridades-reconocen-solo-21-informa-maria-salguero">cited</a> her data, for example. She has also been invited to the states of Quintana Roo, Michoacán and Zacatecas to present her findings to local governments.</p><p>Recently, El Universal, one of Mexico’s most important national papers, described Salguero’s project as “<a href="https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/estados/de-53-feminicidios-en-q-roo-autoridades-reconocen-solo-21-informa-maria-salguero">an important source to consult that contrasts with official figures, which try to minimise the problem</a>” of gender-based killings.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“‘An important source to consult that contrasts with official figures, which try to minimise the problem’ of gender-based killings”</p><p dir="ltr">Projects like these, based on aggregating news reports, are “so important,” added Carolina Torreblanca, director of data analysis at the civil society group <a href="https://datacivica.org/">Data Cívica</a>, in Mexico City, because they “give the context surrounding the femicide” which “official data does not provide”.</p><p dir="ltr">Opening her laptop in the café, Salguero gave me a tour of her colour-coded map, the information it brings together, and how she categorises cases. Hovering over different cities and regions in Mexico are red circles of varying sizes, indicating how many cases of femicide she has recorded. </p><p dir="ltr">When she updates the map, Salguero adds as much detail as she can. Where possible, she links the cases on the map to profiles including names of victims (if available), their ages, how they were murdered and by whom. She also includes links to local media articles.</p><p dir="ltr">When this information is available, she also details the crime scene (where the victim’s body was first found) and if the femicide left children orphaned.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/BS2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/BS2.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="311" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot of Salguero’s map, taken on 4 December 2018. </span></span></span>Salguero has now recorded and mapped more than 6,000 cases of femicide dating back to 2011. In 27 cases, authorities were unable to establish the woman’s identity. In 70 cases, the victim was a trans woman.</p><p dir="ltr">In one case uploaded to the map, a woman’s body was found floating in a water tank in Guanajuato state, central Mexico, on <a href="https://feminicidiosmx.crowdmap.com/reports/view/6617">18 July 2018</a>. The 30-year-old woman, identified in media reports only by her first name María Guadalupe, had been shot and was found by a pastor who alerted police. </p><p dir="ltr">The various filters Salguero has created to categorise the cases on her map reflect dark realities about femicide in Mexico and impunity more generally. Under her category “status of the person who committed femicide”, she’s recorded convictions in only 128 cases. More than 4,000 perpetrators were listed as fugitives when I last checked the map, in early December 2018.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“More than 4,000 perpetrators were listed as fugitives as of early December 2018”</p><p dir="ltr">In October 2018, Mexicans were shocked by news of a couple who admitted to having murdered more than <a href="https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-45821520">20 women in Ecatepec</a>, a suburb north-east of Mexico City (the country's <a href="https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-america-latina-45821520">most dangerous municipality</a> for women). This case catapulted the subject of femicide into the national spotlight once more, with the local press dubbing the couple the “monsters of Ecatepec”.</p><p dir="ltr">The sparse, international data that does exist on femicides suggests they are rampant in Latin America and the Caribbean, with the region accounting for <a href="http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2017/2/take-five-adriana-quinones-femicide-in-latin-america">14 of the top 25 countries</a> with the highest estimated rates of these killings.</p><p dir="ltr">In Mexico, an <a href="https://www.excelsior.com.mx/nacional/en-mexico-diario-asesinan-a-9-mujeres-denuncia-la-onu/1280023">average of nine women</a> are believed to be murdered every day, according to UN Women’s latest figures released in November 2018.</p><p dir="ltr">The country's <a href="https://www.gob.mx/conavim/articulos/que-es-el-feminicidio-y-como-identificarlo?idiom=es">criminal code</a> does specifically reference femicides, defining the crime as one “that deprives a woman of her life for gendered reasons”, evidence of which include signs of sexual violence; “degrading” injuries; a history of violence at home, work or school. </p><p dir="ltr">But there are significant gaps in official data on these gender-related killings. The information that Salguero has compiled highlights these. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">She gave me an example: Quéretaro, a conservative state in central Mexico, has one of the lowest rates of femicide in the country <a href="http://www.eluniversalqueretaro.mx/sociedad/24-11-2017/queretaro-cuarta-entidad-con-menos-feminicidios">according to National Institute for Statistics data</a>. This year, no femicides have been officially recorded there – while she has found and logged at least five cases. </p><p dir="ltr">Torreblanca, the director of data analysis at <a href="https://datacivica.org/">Data Cívica</a>, recently published an <a href="https://www.animalpolitico.com/blogueros-el-foco/2018/11/12/que-contamos-cuando-contamos-feminicidios/">article</a> on how femicide is counted in Mexico. She warns that there are issues with all data on femicide that must be acknowledged. </p><p dir="ltr">Data produced by projects like Salguero’s, which are based on news reports, do not reflect the exact number of femicides, but rather “the probability that a femicide is reported in the press”, Torreblanca told me. And this may depend on many factors, for example: where the crime took place; if the woman is indigenous; if the woman is white and privileged. </p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Torreblanca added, authorities’ official data on cases they considered femicides is also produced in an “opaque way”. </p><p dir="ltr">What is considered a femicide differs between states and has changed over time. What authorities considered a femicide in 2015 may not be the same as what they consider a femicide in 2018. “This makes it hard to measure how much the phenomenon has evolved using official data”, she explained.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Her body was found the next day in the passenger seat of the bus, which had been abandoned. She’d been sexually assaulted and murdered” </p><p dir="ltr">Many cases haunt Salguero. On <a href="https://www.excelsior.com.mx/comunidad/2017/06/11/1169158">8 June 2017</a>, for instance, 11-year-old Valeria didn’t get off the bus at the stop where her father and his partner were waiting for her, on a street in Nezahualcóyotl, east of Mexico City. </p><p dir="ltr">Usually, they’d pick Valeria up from school and cycle home together. That day, it was raining and she was put on a bus with strict instructions on when to get off. Her body was found the next day in the passenger seat of the bus, which had been abandoned. She’d been sexually assaulted and murdered. </p><p dir="ltr">Salguero shudders as she recalls Valeria’s case. “Girls are so vulnerable”, she said. Reading about this femicide in the news “was very disturbing".</p><p dir="ltr">Working on such a violent topic is hard, Salguero continues, explaining that when things get too much, she hops on her bike and rides through the city. “It has helped make sure I don’t go crazy”, she admits.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mexico </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 DemocraciaAbierta Mexico Equality International politics World Forum for Democracy 2018 violence against women Sexual violence gender Bérengère Sim Mon, 10 Dec 2018 10:23:33 +0000 Bérengère Sim 120851 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Attacks against women health workers show how workplace violence hurts us all https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/ver-nica-mont-far/women-health-workplace-violence-hurts-us-all <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Violence in the health sector, where a majority of workers are women, accounts for a quarter of assaults at work – impacting societies at large.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image1_1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image1_1.png" alt="Nurses and caregivers join a national strike in Auckland, New Zealand 2012. Photo: Flickr/Simon Oosterman. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Some" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Nurses and caregivers join a national strike in Auckland, New Zealand 2012. Photo: Flickr/Simon Oosterman. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span>The worldwide #MeToo movement has revealed how sexual harassment and assault are part of most women’s professional lives. However, we must not overlook other forms of violence that women suffer at work – and how this affects society at large. The experiences of emergency nurses and other health workers, a majority of whom around the world are women, shows this clearly.</p><p dir="ltr">Insults, humiliation, and discrimination have become ‘natural’ aspects of many work relationships. When attacked, many women do not report these incidents, not knowing who to turn to or out of fear of losing their jobs. Even worse, some women feel that violence is an inevitable ‘part of their jobs.’ </p><p dir="ltr">In Mexico, as many as <a href="http://www.inegi.org.mx/saladeprensa/boletines/2017/endireh/endireh2017_08.pdf">nine out of 10 women</a> who’ve experienced physical or sexual violence at work never asked their colleagues or supervisors for help or filed complaints to police or their employers.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Some women feel that violence is an inevitable ‘part of their jobs.’ </p><p dir="ltr">Men can also suffer violence and harassment in the workplace, but gender stereotyping and inequality in power relationships make women much more vulnerable to such abuse. They may find no relief at home either, with domestic violence a widespread problem. According to the United Nations' gender equality organisation, UN Women, <a href="http://www.unwomen.org/es/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures">35% of women around the world</a> have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Symptoms of violence at work include anxiety, depression, panic attacks, sleep disorders, attention deficit and memory problems. Women who face such abuse may leave their jobs, interrupting employment with consequences for current and future income (including fewer rights to pensions), exacerbating the already unacceptable global<a href="https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/es/2017/03/onu-mujeres-afirma-que-la-brecha-salarial-del-23-entre-mujeres-y-hombres-es-un-robo/"> gender pay gap of 23%</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Even though workplace violence affects all sectors and all categories of workers, the health sector – where women make up the majority of workers around the world – best illustrates the seriousness of the situation.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/VMviolence2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/VMviolence2.png" alt="A protest of student nurses in Paris, France 2006. Photo: manu_le_manu/Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Some rights reserved. " title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A protest of student nurses in Paris, France 2006. Photo: manu_le_manu/Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span>The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that violence in the health sector makes up <a href="http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/violence/workplace/es/">a quarter</a> of all assaults that take place on the job. A 2011 <a href="https://www.ena.org/docs/default-source/resource-library/practice-resources/workplace-violence/2011-emergency-department-violence-surveillance-report.pdf?sfvrsn=5ad81911_4">report</a> from the United States found that 54% of emergency nurses reported experiencing violence at work within seven days of participating in this study.</p><p dir="ltr">When researchers ask nurses <a href="http://www.world-psi.org/sites/default/files/documents/research/en_gbvworkplacereport2018_final.pdf">where this violence comes from</a>, they point to patients and visitors on one hand, and colleagues and superiors on the other.</p><p dir="ltr">Work-related violence is also related to external factors. It intensifies in situations of war and economic crisis, for instance, and can be a consequence of privatisation and austerity measures which bring more deregulation and increased flexibility that enable more violence against workers in general. </p><p dir="ltr">The International Labour Organization (ILO) notes that risks of violence at work <a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_dialogue/@actrav/documents/publication/wcms_117581.pdf">are seen to increase due to factors</a> like restructuring and other changes to production processes, insufficient staff numbers, excessive workloads, non-standard contracts and unsafe working environments. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-center">Violence at work can heighten fear and anxiety levels more widely in society.</span> </p><p dir="ltr">This doesn’t impact workers in these places only. As you can see in too many hospitals, exhaustion, depression and insufficient staffing affects the quality of services for patients and their families.</p><p dir="ltr">Violence at work can heighten fear and anxiety levels more widely in society. Victims and perpetrators can be employers and workers or “third parties” including clients, customers, service providers, users, patients and members of the public. Governments that introduce austerity measures, weakening public services, can also be considered third parties.</p><p dir="ltr">For this reason, <a href="http://www.world-psi.org/es/home">Public Services International</a> (PSI), where I work, has been advocating for the inclusion of this third parties’ concept in characterising work-related violence. We’ve seen how such violence can have a direct impact on the quality of public services – and how deteriorating work environments, and deregulating and dismantling the public sector to hand it over to private capital, can exacerbate risks of abuse. We must battle these forces.</p><p dir="ltr">Next year, the ILO will negotiate a new agreement to address violence and harassment against women and men at work. We’re celebrating the inclusion of the concept of ‘third parties’ that are impacted by such violence in this <a href="https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_637108.pdf">agreement’s draft text</a>. We must recognise how important dialogue and concrete action is, from employers, workers and governments. We are all victims of work-related violence. Eliminating it is a task for us all.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and economic justice violence against women women's work Verónica Montúfar Sat, 08 Dec 2018 08:05:00 +0000 Verónica Montúfar 120857 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why the ‘Me Too’ movement in India is succeeding at last https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/raksha-kumar/me-too-india-succeeding-at-last <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Centuries of entrenched patriarchy cannot be upturned in a month. But this country finally looks ready for a feminist overhaul.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RK1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RK1.png" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Students celebrating International Women's Day. Kolkata, 2017. Photo: Saikat Paul/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>This year, I've been a part of the Me Too revival in India, having joined countless other women in naming and shaming our abusers. </p><p dir="ltr">Like many Indian feminists, I've found the past few months exhilarating. Our gutsy movement might finally rewrite entrenched patriarchal norms, at least in workplaces. A government minister <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/17/indian-minister-mobashar-jawed-akbar-resigns-over-metoo-allegations">resigned</a>, a Bollywood production house shut down, senior newspaper editors stepped down, a millionaire casting director was sacked, academics were let go from universities – and <a href="https://thewire.in/women/all-you-need-to-know-three-weeks-of-metoo-and-its-big-impacts">the list of major impacts continues</a> with fresh allegations still unfolding. </p><p dir="ltr">Attempts in 2017 to ignite a Me Too movement in India were nowhere near as effective. These began in October 2017, shortly after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in the US, and scores of women drew attention to the scale of sexual abuse with #MeToo posts on social media. That month, an Indian law student at the University of California Davis, <a href="https://scroll.in/article/855438/name-and-shame-list-indian-women-students-explain-why-they-dont-trust-official-sexual-abuse-panels">released a list</a> on Facebook with names of senior academics accused of sexual harassment. </p><h2 dir="ltr">The LoSHA list</h2><p dir="ltr">Raya Sarkar’s LoSHA (List of Sexual Harassers in Academia, as it came to be known on Twitter) left many feminists uncomfortable, including myself. </p><p dir="ltr">It was a crowd-sourced list – an open Google spreadsheet, which could be edited by anyone with the link. It named perpetrators in one column and survivors in another, but in almost all cases it lacked details of specific allegations. In principle, its open-access structure also meant that anyone could add a survivor’s name to the list, even without their consent. </p><p dir="ltr">Not only did the alleged perpetrators not face any legal actions or university sanctions, some of the renowned academics named on the list even garnered sympathy: it was seen to violate their rights to due process. The Me Too movement in India failed to gain traction and eventually dissipated.</p><p dir="ltr">What’s different this year? Many feminists have <a href="https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/a-dalit-womans-thoughts-on-metooindia-5402538/lite/?__twitter_impression=true">contended</a> that Me Too allegations by Indian women weren’t taken seriously by the press or the public in 2017 because Dalit women, like Sarkar, led the campaigns. In contrast, women steering the 2018 movement are <a href="https://twitter.com/IndiaMeToo/status/1055418627955023872">from influential castes</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">Dalits are <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/CEDAW/RuralWomen/FEDONavsarjanTrustIDS.pdf">historically oppressed castes</a>. A Dalit woman who names her abuser is more likely to face social ostracisation, disbelief and stigma. But Sarkar’s 2017 LoSHA was vital. It laid the groundwork for this year’s advances. For many of us who outed perpetrators of abuse and harassment in 2018, it showed us precisely the landmines to steer clear of.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“It showed us precisely the landmines to steer clear of”</p><p dir="ltr">This year’s movement began in September, when a Bollywood actor <a href="https://www.ndtv.com/entertainment/after-tanushree-dutta-alleges-nana-patekar-harassed-her-while-filming-song-choreographer-says-it-nev-1923062">alleged that a senior male colleague had sexually harassed</a> her in 2008. Soon after, allegations of abuse surfaced among well-known <a href="https://www.newsbytesapp.com/timeline/Entertainment/33406/148154/comedian-utsav-chakraborty-allegedly-harasses-minor-girls-online">stand-up comedians</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="https://www.todayonline.com/world/metoos-twitter-gatekeepers-power-peoples-campaign-india?fbclid=IwAR1QGvB9c0MZmq0e9VB5Dbm3kCTe6AuhuWq10GFajPKl1Ilt0mEePqsmY58">first few women </a>who named perpetrators on social media were inundated with private messages from other women detailing their own experiences of harassment and assault. Some remained anonymous; others wanted their stories to be public. The women receiving these waves of allegations became ‘gatekeepers’ for the Me Too revival.</p><p dir="ltr">This is a crucial cog that was missing in 2017’s LoSHA campaign. This loose collective of gatekeepers spend time talking to survivors and learning more details of the time, place and nature of abuse before outing perpetrators. They ensure that survivors are not re-traumatised, but that their stories have enough details that other people can corroborate them. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RK2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RK2.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Producer Vinta Nanda at a press conference discussing Me Too. Mumbai, 2018. Photo: Hindustan Times/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>This time, the only Google spreadsheet is a list of lawyers and mental health professionals who have volunteered time and services to support survivors. </p><p dir="ltr">Another crucial difference in the ‘second wave’ of this movement is the larger number of women who have mustered-up the courage to name their abusers and harassers. Thanks to Sarkar’s work last year, the burden of stigma had already started to shift onto perpetrators. The first disruption was necessary for the second to make strides forward. LoSHA loosened the lid of the bottle.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“This time, the only Google spreadsheet is a list of lawyers and mental health professionals who volunteered to support survivors” </p><p dir="ltr">In October 2018, Mobashar Jawed Akbar, a former leading newspaper editor, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/17/indian-minister-mobashar-jawed-akbar-resigns-over-metoo-allegations">resigned</a> from his post as a junior foreign minister after <a href="https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/central-minister-mj-akbar-resigns-over-sexual-harassment-charges-90121">27 women</a> accused him of sexual harassment. More than half of these women were not anonymous. (Akbar denied all allegations and filed an ongoing defamation case against the first woman to accuse him). </p><p dir="ltr">More women are outing perpetrators online, but the Me Too movement in India is also pursuing court cases and knocking on the doors of Internal Complaints Committees at their workplaces. More than 20 women have also pledged to testify in court against Akbar, for example. </p><p dir="ltr">The 2017 LoSHA list was criticised for not following “due process” regarding alleged perpetrators. But this “due process” emphasis is also insufficient, too narrowly defining what justice looks like for survivors, and incorrectly assuming it means the same thing for all women. This year, many survivors have come forward about their experiences explicitly stating that they do not want to pursue legal cases. Some only want an apology, or their jobs back.</p><h2 dir="ltr">The POSH Act</h2><p dir="ltr">In 2013, India’s parliament passed the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_Harassment_of_Women_at_Workplace_(Prevention,_Prohibition_and_Redressal)_Act,_2013">Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act</a>, also known as the POSH Act. But its implementation has been negligible. The Me Too movement’s current wave has pushed from its start for this to change – via Twitter and public <a href="http://www.nwmindia.org/component/k2/nwmi-statement-on-me-too-in-indian-media">statements</a>, <a href="https://www.newsnation.in/entertainment/bollywood-news/metoo-movement-mumbai-court-rejects-alok-nath-wife-plea-for-restraining-order-against-vinta-nanda-article-205765.html">letters</a> and petitions to government authorities. </p><p dir="ltr">In response, on 24 October the government <a href="https://www.livemint.com/Politics/2m9XF9azvk00SVpiFZzUPI/Govt-sets-up-GoM-to-look-into-sexual-harassment-at-workplace.html">convened a group of ministers</a>, headed by home minister Rajnath Singh, to examine legal and institutional frameworks for dealing with workplace sexual harassment. The National Commission for Women also <a href="https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/national/metoo-ncw-launches-dedicated-email-to-report-sexual-harassment-at-workplace/article25258112.ece">reached out to several women</a> on Twitter and accepted their petitions, promising to take action. </p><p dir="ltr">This may be nothing more than lip-service. But recent supreme court verdicts <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/india-decriminalises-gay-sex-landmark-verdict-180906051219637.html">decriminalising homosexuality</a> and <a href="https://www.firstpost.com/india/sabarimala-verdict-sc-says-women-can-visit-shrine-but-female-devotees-may-keep-out-to-protect-lord-ayyappas-celibacy-5285391.html">allowing menstruating women</a> into shrines suggest those in power are finally taking gender equality seriously. Though there are still many pressing questions. </p><p dir="ltr">Many of the men who have been accused of harassment or assault in both waves of the Me Too movement in India are powerful, yet supposedly progressive, figures <a href="https://www.inuth.com/india/theres-a-storm-coming-has-indian-medias-metoo-moment-finally-arrived/">the media industry</a>. What made these ‘liberal’ men ignore the basic principle of consent in their own workplaces? </p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“What made ‘liberal’ men ignore the basic principle of consent in their own workplaces?”</p><p dir="ltr">For decades, the veteran broadcast journalist and editor Vinod Dua has criticised religious inequality, caste-based discrimination and undemocratic processes in India. He too has been accused by multiple women of sexual harassment. He has denied all charges. </p><p dir="ltr">Criticising government politics or social norms was easier for these men than looking critically at their own behavior, practices and thoughts. These men were not taught how not to be abusive, while women were told to be always on guard. These men could transgress accepted social boundaries, while women had to tolerate abuse today for the promise of a better tomorrow.</p><p dir="ltr">Women’s spaces, whether community spaces or friendship networks, have always had their whisper networks. Me Too campaigns have dared to share these online, using social media to alter the social order. Of course, centuries of entrenched patriarchy cannot be upturned in a month. But this country finally looks ready for a feminist overhaul. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/whats-next-for-metoo-movement">What’s next for the MeToo movement?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 India Civil society Equality International politics Internet World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media women's movements violence against women Sexual violence feminism Raksha Kumar Fri, 07 Dec 2018 08:02:44 +0000 Raksha Kumar 120856 at https://www.opendemocracy.net ‘Now, every woman knows she needs to fight violence everywhere’ https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer/julienne-lusenge-congo-sexual-violence-metoo <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Congolese activist Julienne Lusenge talks about the struggle to end wartime sexual violence and why she appreciates the MeToo campaign.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe width="460" height="300" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xSQ9aQqXxgk?cc_load_policy=1" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">‘Now, every woman knows she needs to fight violence everywhere’, the Congolese human rights activist Julienne Lusenge told me on the sidelines of the Council of Europe’s <a href="https://www.coe.int/web/world-forum-democracy">World Forum for Democracy</a>&nbsp;last month. </p><p>In a video interview with <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050">openDemocracy 50.50</a>, she talks about the struggle to end wartime sexual violence and why she appreciates the MeToo campaign. A lightly edited transcript of this conversation is below.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Nandini Archer (NA): Tell me a little about your work.</strong></p><p><strong>Julienne Lusenge (JL):</strong> I’m Julienne Lusenge, and I’m an activist. We support women survivors of violence in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo] and we promote peace in our country.</p><p><strong>NA: What do you think is the biggest misconception, or what’s the least understood, about wartime sexual violence?</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>JL:</strong> I think people don’t understand why violence continues to develop in the DRC. If we don’t work for peace, to restore peace in our country, we won’t put an end to violence against women, and so we need to work for peace.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>NA: And what have been some of the biggest successes in recent years? Wartime sexual violence has been in the international news a lot.</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>JL:</strong> The big success is that each woman knows that she needs to fight violence, everywhere… And we saw survivors come together to fight sexual abuse.</p><p>We see young people denounce it, even if they have abuse from teachers or pressure, they denounce that. And we now see some judges engaged, to fight this violence, and we now we see our government recognise this situation. </p><p>In the past, our government did not accept to recognise that this violence is a big problem in our country. And now we see that in the world, people are coming together to say we need to fight violence. </p><p>I appreciate the campaign MeToo, because it allows each women to denounce this. In the past, people thought it’s only in poor countries, as the DRC, that violence, abuse or sexual abuse is a very big problem. Now we know that, even in America or Europe, it’s a problem. Women know that each woman, wherever she is, she can be victim – and we need to come together to fight this.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">In the past, people thought it’s only in poor countries, as the DRC, that violence, abuse or sexual abuse is a very big problem. Now we know that, even in America or Europe, it’s a problem.</p><p dir="ltr">In the DRC, war is about resources, they come to steal our resources, and they kill us. They need to take the space; they need to push people out. </p><p>Today, in Beni, Uganda’s rebels come and kill everyone. It’s not possible. But the European people know; the European Commission knows; the USA knows; they know. The leaders in the world know, but they don’t take action.</p><p dir="ltr">When Ebola happened in Beni, they came and said, ‘we need to fight Ebola, we need to fight Ebola’. But people said: How can you fight only Ebola? And you don’t fight those rebels who kill us everyday. You need you to fight to rebels and to fight Ebola. So we can be in peace and go to our field and work.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>NA: And what do you feel most proud of in your work?</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>JL:</strong> Maybe I can give you just one example – I have many examples to give to you. Because we have today, I can show you, children who were born from rape, and today they grow; they study; they have diplomas; and they continue to study in university. Some of them have babies, today they are married, and some women who came to us as victims, today they are activists – they help themseves, and other survivors, to stand up to continue fighting.</p><p dir="ltr">But we aren’t finished, we continue to work; we continue to help women; we continue to mobilise money for the grassroots; and we continue to do advocacy everywhere, internationally, nationally and locally – we go to meet authorities to speak to them. When I went to the UN council, I spoke to them, I told them that they must understand that women in the DRC need peace. And we don’t need any other resolution. Now we have enough resolutions. We need just them to implement those resolutions – that can help. We have a big mission in the DRC and we need them to fight for peace. We need peace in the DRC.</p><p dir="ltr">We cannot understand how in the DRC women have no water, no electricity, no hospital. It’s not possible. This year, I went to a village in Beni. We gave women water; we organised that; we paid for that. Women came to me, they danced, they sang, they were very happy, because it’s the first time for them to have water in the village. Every time they went far to look for water, and rebels killed them, kidnapped them, raped them. Now they have water in the village. It gives me encouragement to continue to work, to continue to mobilise money.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">We cannot understand how in the DRC women have no water, no electricity, no hospital. It’s not possible.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong><strong>NA:</strong> With the increased attention to sexual violence in wartime situations, has it changed anything in terms of the money you’re receiving?</strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>JL:</strong> We cannot say that we have enough to continue to work, because it’s not enough. We need more money, and I need donors to understand that, even if we’re Congolese organisations, we have tools to manage money and we are clever and we are able to manage this money and to give reports. </p><p dir="ltr">Because every time they say ‘ah grassroots organisations, Congolese organisations cannot [do this]’. But we can do that, and we do that, because every year we do audits and we have some donors who gave us money ten years ago. We have this confidence. </p><p dir="ltr">But I need to say to donors to believe in us and to give us money. Congolese women’s group are able to manage money and change our country... We cannot have democracy in the DRC if women do not participate at the political level. And to have women in this place, we need to support them, we need to train them, so they can be able to participate in that way.</p><p><em>* 50.50 reported from the World Forum for Democracy (WFD) events in Strasbourg as part of openDemocracy’s partnership with the 2018 WFD.</em></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democratic Republic of the Congo </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Democratic Republic of the Congo Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Equality International politics World Forum for Democracy 2018 50.50 Our Africa gender Sexual violence violence against women women and power women's human rights women's movements Nandini Archer Mon, 03 Dec 2018 08:40:03 +0000 Nandini Archer 120788 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How Kenyan women are fighting for themselves in court https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/claire-provost-adam-bychawski/kenyan-women-fighting-for-themselves-in-court <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Winner of the Council of Europe’s 2018 Democracy Innovation Award talks about training women to represent themselves in Kenyan courts.</p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe width="460" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cqpDmKdaQOs" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p dir="ltr">“Access to justice in Kenya is still a very challenging thing for women and their children”, said Teresa Omondi Adeitan, from the <a href="https://www.fidakenya.org/">Federation of Women Lawyers</a> (FIDA) in Kenya, who knows more about this topic than most. </p><p dir="ltr">This challenge, she said on the sidelines of the Council of Europe’s <a href="https://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy">World Forum for Democracy </a>(WFD), remains “because the government has yet to put in resources to ensure that everybody can be able to access justice in Kenya”. </p><p dir="ltr">Adeitan was one of 200 speakers from 80 countries at the WFD in Strasbourg, France earlier this week. The theme of the 2018 forum, attended by up to 2,000 people, was “Gender equality: whose battle?”</p><p dir="ltr">The Kenyan lawyer shared the experiences and approach of her organisation during a session on <a href="https://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy/lab-11-how-can-women-use-the-law-to-fight-gender-based-violence-">how women can use the law to fight gender-based violence</a>. On Wednesday, she was announced as the winner of the Council of Europe's 2018 Democracy Innovation Award.</p><p dir="ltr">Adeitan, who has worked at FIDA Kenya for seven years, told us about its work providing free legal aid services for women and children, so that they can access courts and justice systems and "get their rights".</p><p>“Self-representation of women in court is a key technique because we found out that the numbers of women who want to get justice in court are many more than the number of advocates we have”, she explained.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">"The numbers of women who want to get justice in court are many more than the number of advocates we have”</p><p dir="ltr">“As long as you can read, at least your literacy level is of average... then we can train you to be an advocate for yourself”, she said, describing how the organisation identifies and supports women to represent themselves in court.</p><p dir="ltr">This includes anticipating questions and tactics from the other side, Adeitan explained. “Like you know if you're in court and someone says 'you liar', the first thing you want to do is maybe cry and think 'how dare you call me [that]'”. </p><p dir="ltr">“That is a possible technique that will be used against you”, she said, with her advice to “be firm, be focused on what you want for yourself and your children”.</p><p>“We also teach them how to explain [their stories] to the judge without making assumption that the judge understands what they are going through,” she continued, for example in child maintenance and domestic violence cases.</p><p dir="ltr">“You have to take time and explain to the judge and produce your evidence step-by-step”, she said, describing other practical tips including dressing comfortably for the court and bringing something to eat.</p><p dir="ltr">So far, Adeitan said, this approach has been “quite successful".</p><p dir="ltr">"We have this joke in the organisation that they’re better lawyers than ourselves. Because they know what they experience, they know how to explain their issues, because it happened to them”. </p><p dir="ltr">“Especially in [child] custody and maintenance cases and domestic violence”, she said, women representing themselves seem to have higher success rates than those who have lawyers speaking for them. </p><p>FIDA Kenya has supported women to represent themselves in court for 15 years, providing training on key concepts and the steps in the legal process. </p><p dir="ltr">The Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award is given each year to an initiative presented at the WFD, voted upon by forum participants.</p><p dir="ltr">Other nominees this year were <a href="http://strajkkobiet.eu/">Strajk kobiet</a> (Polish Women’s Strike), and <a href="http://www.musawah.org/">Musawah</a> – a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family.</p> <p><i>* 50.50 reported on the World Forum for Democracy events in Strasbourg as part of openDemocracy’s partnership with the 2018 World Forum for Democracy.</i></p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Equality International politics World Forum for Democracy 2018 women's movements women and power gender Adam Bychawski Claire Provost Mon, 26 Nov 2018 08:15:45 +0000 Claire Provost and Adam Bychawski 120699 at https://www.opendemocracy.net What would a feminist internet look like? https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sophie-hemery/what-would-feminist-internet-look-like <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>After World Forum for Democracy talks about creating safe spaces in cyberspace, we asked five delegates this difficult and pressing question.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image3_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/image3_0.png" alt="Florence Poilly at the World Forum for Democracy. Photo: Sophie Hemery. " title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Florence Poilly at the World Forum for Democracy. Photo: Sophie Hemery. </span></span></span>How to create safe spaces in cyberspace was one of the questions discussed at this week’s World Forum for Democracy at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. But what would a feminist internet really look like? After the discussion, we asked five delegates for their views.</p><h2>Florence Poilly, Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organisations</h2><p dir="ltr">We should begin by educating people in empathy. Sometimes we can’t have empathy when facing some hate speech, but we should be able to raise the standard and decide not to reply to hate speech. Because sometimes it is very difficult to not do it. But I think a feminist internet should raise the standard, and not answer to hate speech.</p><p dir="ltr">I think a lot of people do a wonderful job [trying to create safe spaces online] but it’s very hard to get funding and support because sometimes mostly male organisations don’t want to support the work because it gives women too much power.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“I think a feminist internet should raise the standard, and not answer to hate speech”</p><h2>Arezoo Najibzadeh, Young Women’s Leadership Network</h2><p dir="ltr">Digital access is the biggest issue for me… We know in Northern communities and in rural communities it is much harder to [access] information, and access the internet, and in terms of education and being able to have a stronger voice within democratic and civic institutions and conversations, access to the internet proves to be a big issue for a lot of marginalised communities or countries with less access to global voices and the internet.</p><p dir="ltr">But also when we’re talking about global movements like #WeBelieveSurvivors and the #MeToo movement, we need to be more conscious of recognising the internet and websites like Twitter and Facebook as tools we can use to further our causes, and not necessarily credit these social media corporations for feminist work that’s been happening over ages.</p><p>And I think in the age of #MeToo, what we lose is the fact that it was a black woman [Tarana Burke] who was doing on-the-ground work who started the movement.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/wfdfeministinternet2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/wfdfeministinternet2.png" alt="Arezoo Najibzadeh at the World Forum for Democracy. Photo: Sophie Hemery. " title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Arezoo Najibzadeh at the World Forum for Democracy. Photo: Sophie Hemery. </span></span></span></p><h2>Menno Ettema, Council of Europe’s Anti-Discrimination Department</h2><p dir="ltr">A feminist internet, for me, would look like an internet where everybody feels safe, regardless of gender, nationality, ethnicity… to participate, to express, to share information. And also that if you feel harassed, you can go somewhere to report [it] and it’s taken seriously and you get a quick response. Of course sometimes there are conflicts of opinion, conflicts of interest – and that should be fine, but this should be shared in a safe way for everyone.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“A feminist internet, for me, would be an internet where everybody feels safe, regardless of gender, nationality, ethnicity… to participate, to express, to share information.”</p><p dir="ltr">It’s also about respecting cultural differences and bridging these kinds of challenges to have a global community… For me the challenge is how do you do that in a space where you often communicate without faces or identities behind it… Intercultural learning, human rights education really needs space and time – people need to have safe spaces where they can grow and make mistakes and get positive feedback on how to see other perspectives and learn.</p><p dir="ltr">Internet companies own the platforms, but we should avoid them having a monopoly on what does and what doesn’t go. There are much broader discussions needed with NGOs that represent groups that are negatively affected at the moment… and governments, too… Independent legal oversight is important, but the question is how can this be done in a context where everything [happens] very quickly?</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/wfdfeministinternet1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/wfdfeministinternet1.png" alt="Rocío Galvez Serrano (left) from Spain and Andrea Toma from Romania at the World Forum for Democracy. Photo: Sophie Hemery. " title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Rocío Galvez Serrano (left) from Spain and Andrea Toma from Romania at the World Forum for Democracy. Photo: Sophie Hemery. </span></span></span></p><h2>Andrea Toma, Amnesty International Romania</h2><p dir="ltr">I am a human rights educator and I’ve been doing trainings focused on gender equality and one of the workshops was actually focused on how to turn memes into something educational and something that benefits women, educating [people] on what women want and so on.</p><p dir="ltr">I believe that a feminist internet would necessarily be a safe space for women, which it’s not right now. But instead of saying ‘okay, memes can create more unsure spaces for women’, I wanted us to work on how we can use the memes to actually turn things [around]. We’re piloting this, so it was nice to have this friendly vision of ‘okay, memes can work like that’, can be thought through, can be documented, can make a campaign – including for feminist and gender equality campaigns. It was exciting to look at it from a different perspective.</p><h2>Rocio Galvez Serrano, Asociación Egeria Desarrollo Social</h2><p dir="ltr">I run a feminist organisation in Spain. I really don’t know how to create a safe space [online], because the internet itself gives you the power to be anonymous and you have a free space to harass people. I know that, in Spain, there are many feminist activists who have been harassed about their appearance, their dress… There is a kind of impunity to this. Maybe we can make specific laws to protect feminists, all activists… but I think the most vulnerable are women and feminist women. I think it’s the government’s responsibility [to address this].</p><p dir="ltr"><em>*50.50 is reporting on this week’s events in Strasbourg as part of openDemocracy’s partnership with the 2018 World Forum for Democracy.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u565030/wfdsmalllogo.png" alt="wfdsmalllogo.png" width="140" height="107" /></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This article was published as part of the World Forum for Democracy 2018. <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank">Read more here</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/whats-next-for-metoo-movement">What’s next for the MeToo movement?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/gender-equality-in-europe-advancing-at-snail-s-pace">Gender equality in Europe ‘advancing at snail’s pace’</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/sophie-hemery/online-platforms-enable-deluge-hatred-against-trans-women-uk">Online platforms have enabled “deluge of hatred against trans women” in the UK</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media feminism young feminists Sophie Hemery Thu, 22 Nov 2018 11:25:00 +0000 Sophie Hemery 120671 at https://www.opendemocracy.net What’s next for the MeToo movement? https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/whats-next-for-metoo-movement <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>At the Council of Europe’s annual World Forum for Democracy, we asked five activists one simple question.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/WFD2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/WFD2.png" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Carola De Min and Valentina Corradi from the Council of Europe. At the World Forum for Democracy, Strasbourg France 2018. Photo: Nandini Archer. </span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr">What’s next for the MeToo movement? At the Council of Europe’s annual <a href="https://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy/">World Forum for Democracy</a> – which this year is focused on gender equality – we asked five activists one simple question.</p><h2 dir="ltr">Shiori Ito, Japan, freelance journalist </h2><p dir="ltr">Sexual violence exists everywhere in the world, no matter where you’re from, no matter what race or class you’re from.</p><p dir="ltr">[In Japan] we’re never taught what consent means. We live in a society where no sometimes means yes and how can we cope with that? We set our consent age as 13 years old and they don’t teach what consent is in school. </p><p dir="ltr">Only 4% of rape is reported to the police. 96% doesn't exist, it’s not there. Why? A lot of it is to do with the judicial system and how they handle the investigation, what kind of culture or idea they have against rape. </p><p dir="ltr">Personally, one of the hardest things I had to do in an investigation was I had to reenact the rape, I had to play around with a life-sized doll, to act out the rape, in front of three male investigators, and them taking photos.</p><h2 dir="ltr">Diana Bologova, Germany, European Youth Press</h2><p dir="ltr">The MeToo campaign for me was quite a big surprise. I first saw it from my Russian colleagues and I didnt believe that it’s for real. I thought that it’s a fake.</p><p dir="ltr">But this is very important, and that actually concerns every single girl, every single woman, and we have to go on. </p><p dir="ltr">And when I heard that this whole forum was based on that campaign and it was inspired by this campaign, I did everything to come here.</p><h2 dir="ltr">Joycia Thorat, India, the Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action &nbsp;</h2><p dir="ltr">The MeToo movement is a cathartic moment for women, all the suppressed expression, the space was finally made available to speak about. Any space that allows women to be empowered is a good movement.</p><p dir="ltr">In India the main issue is that the MeToo movement is more limited to the upper class… Many times the experiences of violence against the Dalits or tribal children do not come out. They don’t have the media, they don’t have the social network, they don’t have the social means, the capacity, the power. </p><p dir="ltr">Recently we had a story of a 13-year-old young child girl who was killed because she said no to a man. Her neighbour was from the upper caste. She was a Dalit child. But no press, no paper, no-one, no judiciary, no governance system, wanted to mention the case. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/WFD3.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/WFD3.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="346" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Joycia Thorat from the Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action. At the World Forum for Democracy, Strasbourg France 2018. Photo: Nandini Archer.</span></span></span></p><h2 dir="ltr">Carola De Min, Italy, Council of Europe</h2><p dir="ltr">Women are now standing up for themselves, they feel a bit more confident. But there’s also this downside... there’s also an increase in bad comments, especially from men who accuse women of lying. </p><p dir="ltr">We need the authorities, the policemen and other systems to trust women and to know how to handle the cases because at the moment they don’t know. If the victims are asked what were you wearing, were you drunk, if someone says they were sexually harassed, for the most part, most of the time, it’s true. </p><p dir="ltr">The first step has to be education. Also to keep talking about it, and social media has a role here… because not talking about it will make it a taboo, which will enlarge the problem.</p><h2 dir="ltr">Harish Sadani, India, Men Against Violence and Abuse </h2><p dir="ltr">Toxic masculinity and male entitlement to power and privilege are the roots of all kinds of gender-based discrimination and violence against women.</p><p dir="ltr">This MeToo movement, we must understand the context in which it came. When the systems have not been working, the redressal or social justice mechanisms, which should have been formally placed in many establishments.</p><p dir="ltr">It’s a very strange thing in countries like india. You want to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, but without talking about sexuality. Can that happen? You are not addressing the root cause. And I find that strange.</p><p>In India, and I think in other parts [of the world] as well, the response of men to the MeToo campaign was not forthcoming… </p><p>[Some] raised their voice in support of the women, but not to the extent that the population was concerned, and there were large number of people from the literary field, sports, that were silent, who are still silent.</p><p><em>* 50.50 is reporting on this week’s events in Strasbourg as part of openDemocracy’s partnership with the 2018 World Forum for Democracy.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u565030/wfdsmalllogo.png" alt="wfdsmalllogo.png" width="140" height="107" /></a><p>This article was published as part of the World Forum for Democracy 2018. <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018"" target="_blank">Read more here</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/gender-equality-in-europe-advancing-at-snail-s-pace">Gender equality in Europe ‘advancing at snail’s pace’</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Culture Equality World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media women's movements women's human rights women and power violence against women Sexual violence young feminists Sophie Hemery Nandini Archer Wed, 21 Nov 2018 08:09:27 +0000 Nandini Archer and Sophie Hemery 120638 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Gender equality in Europe ‘advancing at snail’s pace’ https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer-sophie-hemery/gender-equality-in-europe-advancing-at-snail-s-pace <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Women's rights debates take centre stage at this year's World Forum for Democracy at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/wfd.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/wfd.png" alt="World Forum for Democracy delegates" title="" width="460" height="285" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>World Forum for Democracy delegates. Image: Nandini Archer.</span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr">Gender equality in Europe is “advancing at a snail’s pace”, Thérèse Murphy of the European Institute for Gender Equality told delegates at the <a href="https://www.coe.int/en/web/world-forum-democracy/home">World Forum for Democracy</a> in Strasbourg, France.</p><p dir="ltr">Murphy and other speakers reviewed different measures of gender equality in a fact-based introduction to the Council of Europe’s annual event, which is this year focused on the theme: “Gender equality: whose battle?”</p><p dir="ltr">Over the last decade, there has been very little progress made on gender equality in Europe overall, she said, warning: “There can be no democracy without mainstreaming gender into every aspect of public life and public discourse”.</p><p dir="ltr">“The decisions that are being made about our future and our environment are not being made in a gender equal way”, Murphy added, of the stark underrepresentation of women in environment ministries amid climate change concerns.</p><p dir="ltr">Up to 2,000 people from more than 60 countries are expected to attend the three-day forum, which began on Monday and is <a href="https://theshiftnews.com/2018/11/14/world-forum-for-democracy-dedicated-to-daphne-caruana-galizia/">dedicated to the Malta journalist</a> Daphne Caruana Galizia who was murdered last year.</p><p dir="ltr">More than 100 speakers are presenting their work and perspectives, including in plenaries on women’s public, political and economic participation and addressing sexism, discrimination and violence against women.</p><p dir="ltr">Other sessions will explore topics including faith and feminism, safe spaces in cyberspace, and masculinity and showcase initiatives to tackle gender inequalities and violence against women from around the world.</p><p dir="ltr">Spain’s Minister of Justice Dolores Delgado, Polish activist Marta Lempart, and Canadian educator and sexual violence support worker Farrah Khan were among those who spoke during the events on Monday.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/wfd2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565030/wfd2.png" alt="World Forum for Democracy speakers. " title="" width="460" height="313" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>World Forum for Democracy speakers. Image: Nandini Archer.</span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr">Links between democracy and gender equality, political polarisation and feminism, the impact of sexism on the planet, and the role of the #MeToo movement in forcing conversations on sexual harassment were among the topics discussed.</p><p dir="ltr">Annika Silva-Leander at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance surveyed figures on women’s political participation in different regions and cited several ‘concerning’ trends.</p><p dir="ltr">For the first time in more than 40 years, she said, more countries are declining rather than advancing in their democratic performance, while civic space is diminishing.</p><p dir="ltr">“We are deeply concerned about this because we know it has severe consequences for gender equality”, she said, though increased women’s participation is not enough to achieve more democratic societies.</p><p>Laura Silver, of the Pew Research Center based in Washington DC, spoke about the <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/03/08/strong-global-support-for-gender-equality-especially-among-women/">state of public opinion</a> towards gender equality in countries around the world.</p><p dir="ltr">While women are more likely than men to say that gender equality is “very important”, she said, in some places there seems to be an even more important “partisan gap” in people’s responses to such questions.</p><p dir="ltr">In the United States, Democratic party supporters are more than twice as likely to identify as feminists than Republicans, according to the center's research. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">From the audience, one delegate said that it was urgent to address the backlash in several countries against gender studies and feminism within education systems.</p><p>Another participant suggested that, amid concern over climate change, if women could “exercise more power that could prevent the destruction of humanity”.</p><p>On Twitter, another <a href="https://twitter.com/ArezooJaan/status/1064489286811168769">commented</a>: “Reminder: the 50/50 conversation about gender equality erases non-binary folks and dismisses issues faced by trans communities”.</p><p dir="ltr">The Council of Europe is the region’s largest institution focused on democracy, human rights and the rule of law. The World Forum for Democracy was first held in 2012. </p><p>Previous editions of the event have focused on youth and politics, connecting citizens and institutions in the digital age, and the rise of populism.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* 50.50 is reporting on this week’s events in Strasbourg as part of openDemocracy’s partnership with the 2018 World Forum for Democracy.&nbsp;</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u565030/wfdsmalllogo.png" alt="wfdsmalllogo.png" width="140" height="107" /></a><p>This article was published as part of the World Forum for Democracy 2018. <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018"" target="_blank">Read more here</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/sophie-hemery/online-platforms-enable-deluge-hatred-against-trans-women-uk">Online platforms have enabled “deluge of hatred against trans women” in the UK</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/gillian-kane/attacks-on-womens-ministries-are-threat-to-democracy">Attacks on women&#039;s ministries are a threat to democracy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 World Forum for Democracy 2018 women's movements women's human rights women and power patriarchy young feminists Sophie Hemery Nandini Archer Tue, 20 Nov 2018 11:00:00 +0000 Nandini Archer and Sophie Hemery 120601 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Ten resources if you’ve experienced targeted hate online https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer/ten-resources-targeted-hate-online <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Online abuse of women and LGBTQ people is relentless. But there are resources to support you, from digital security to self-care tips.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/violenceonline (1).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/violenceonline (1).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>'Women deserve better' graffiti. Photo: Devon Buchanan /<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/divinenephron/6820220764/">Flickr.</a> CC BY 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>50.50 is increasingly exposing targeted hate online – and the findings have been distressing. <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sophie-hemery/us-evangelicals-target-lgbt-young-people-facebook-youtube-ads">Our investigation</a> into a US evangelical group found deliberate targeting of LGBT youth with ‘dehumanising’ Facebook and YouTube ads. Another report found that online platforms have enabled a '<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/sophie-hemery/online-platforms-enable-deluge-hatred-against-trans-women-uk">deluge of hatred against trans women</a>' in the UK.</p><p>We’ve also been on the receiving end of online abuse. One of our writers <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/sian-norris/tackling-trolls-how-women-fighting-back-online-bullies">has shared</a> some of the particularly nasty misogynistic abuse she’s received. 50.50’s <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/lara-whyte/young-men-should-be-furious-inside-worlds-largest-mens-rights-activism">reporting</a> from an international conference on men’s issues in London unleashed a men's rights <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer/feminism-is-cancer-mens-rights-activists-online-backlash">backlash</a> on social media and in the comments section of our article.</p><p dir="ltr">Amnesty International’s <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2018/03/online-violence-against-women-chapter-1/">‘Toxic Twitter’</a> report, the Guardian’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/technology/series/the-web-we-want">‘Web we want’</a> series, and the Women’s Media Centre <a href="http://www.womensmediacenter.com/speech-project">Speech Project</a> have documented how women of colour, LGBTQ people and women with disabilities experience the worst forms of online abuse.</p><p dir="ltr">But it’s crucial that trolls and other abusers don’t ruin the internet – which is also an important space for feminists to organise, learn from and communicate with one another and with wider communities of current or potential allies.</p><p dir="ltr">50.50 reached out to activists, journalists and allies for advice on responding to online abuse. Here is a round-up of some of the resources they shared with us.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>1) #HerNetHerRights resources from the European Women's Lobby</strong>, including ‘<a href="https://www.womenlobby.org/IMG/pdf/hernetherrights_resource_pack_2017_web_version.pdf">The ‘Activist Toolkit</a>’, help internet users assess what risks they face, including trolls and hate speech, as well as how to take protective measures and respond to abuse. They recommend finding supportive communities online, collecting proof of abuse, blocking trolls and encrypting devices and files.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>2) The Speak Up &amp; Stay Safe(r) guide from the non-profit <a href="https://onlinesafety.feministfrequency.com/en/">Feminist Frequency</a> </strong>responds to online harassment from “individuals, loosely organised groups &amp; cybermobs.” It includes bite-sized guides to setting up two-step verification, creating unique passwords and removing potential ‘doxxing’ information. (<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/technology/doxxing-protests.html">Doxxing</a> involves the broadcasting of personal information to shame, coerce, exploit, persecute or harass).</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>3) <a href="https://www.ihollaback.org/blog/2017/09/27/counterspeech-dos-donts/">Counterspeech do’s and don’ts </a>from the anti-street harassment movement, ‘Hollaback’</strong>, is a guide in comic form to support internet users in countering online harassment. If you feel safe and calm, there are some instances where it is possible and appropriate to answer back to a cyber-abuser. It recommends remembering that behind each hateful comment is a person. The comic offers clear examples of recommended “Do’s and Don’ts”. For instance: label the comment, not the person.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>4) ‘<a href="https://hackblossom.org/cybersecurity/">A DIY Guide to Feminist Cybersecurity</a>’ from activist group Hack Blossom</strong> shows how to reduce your visibility to malicious threats, prevent trolls from accessing private information, and stop private companies from collecting your personal data to target you with adverts. This group has also created a specific <a href="https://hackblossom.org/domestic-violence/">domestic violence guide</a>, for cases where cyber-abusers are partners or ex-partners, for example, harassing you via social media or your telephone, or by stalking your locations. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/violenceonline (2).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/violenceonline (2).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Demonstration against homophobia, 2013. Photo: Marco Fieber <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcofieber/9636054983">/Flickr.</a> CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span><strong>5) <a href="https://iheartmob.org">HeartMob’s</a> platform offers resources and documents abuse</strong>, while enabling connections with allies. It provides <a href="https://iheartmob.org/resources/self_care">self-care tips</a>, including advice not to blame yourself for experiencing abuse, to ask for help, and to meditate on your feelings while thinking strategically about moving forward. Their <a href="https://iheartmob.org/heartbot">@theheartbot account </a>is a Twitter bot that logs reports of online abuse to dis-incentivise harassers. Another resource <a href="https://iheartmob.org/resources/rights">explains</a> what to expect if you want to prepare a case or file a police report in the US.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>6) The <a href="https://xyz.informationactivism.org/en/">XYZ platform</a> from the digital security non-profit <a href="https://tacticaltech.org/projects/digital-security-and-privacy/">Tactical Tech</a></strong> includes resources for politically-active women who use digital technologies to organise, carry out their work and express themselves. This group also supports individuals and organisations in building digital security skills including through trainings and toolkits.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>7) <a href="https://datadetox.myshadow.org/en/detox">The Data Detox</a></strong>, while not explicitly focused on online abuse, offers a relevant, free course. Over eight days, in under half an hour a day, you can learn to control your digital self. For example, you look at how much Facebook knows about your interests, how to flush out publicly available data and how to deep clean your Facebook account.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>8) Take Back the Tech’s <a href="https://www.takebackthetech.net/be-safe/">‘Be Safe’ website</a> </strong>offers roadmaps for responding to cyberbullying, blackmail and hate speech online including real strategies people have used when faced with such abuse. It includes <a href="https://www.takebackthetech.net/sites/default/files/hatespeech.pdf">a section on what your human rights</a> are under international law when it comes to hate speech. A <a href="https://www.takebackthetech.net/be-safe/safety-toolkit">safety toolkit</a> explains how you can keep your devices secure and delete files, while the site’s <a href="https://www.takebackthetech.net/be-safe/self-care-coping-and-healing">self-care tips</a> highlight the importance of stress relief, sleep, nutrition and social support.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>9) <a href="https://yoursosteam.wordpress.com/products-services/">TrollBusters</a> calls itself ‘online pest control for journalists’</strong>. It promises to help you assess the threat, figure out what steps to take and where to report trolls. Their ‘<a href="https://yoursosteam.files.wordpress.com/2017/01/tb_infographic_watermark.jpg">What to do? Where to go?</a>’ infographic details some of these strategies in a condensed form. They also provide free lessons on ‘digital hygiene’ to help you protect yourself.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>10) <a href="https://www.glaad.org/resources/amplifyyourvoice/resourcekit#howcanibeanallyonline">Amplify Your Voice</a> is a resource kit</strong> from the US organisation GLAAD. It includes a section on how to be an ally to LGBTQ people online and provides tips on speaking out for equality through online media. It also advises internet users on how to stay safe on Facebook and how to report cyberbullies.</p><p dir="ltr">What would you add to this list? Share your suggestions in the comment thread below, or on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/5050oD">@5050oD</a>.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Special thanks to Shelley Buckingham from the Association of Women in Development (AWID) and Rashima Kwatra from OutRight Action International for their input into this list, as well as the multiple other women and non-binary people who shared resources with us.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u565030/wfdsmalllogo.png" alt="wfdsmalllogo.png" width="140" height="107" /></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This article was published as part of the World Forum for Democracy 2018. <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank">Read more here</a></p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media Tracking the backlash women's human rights violence against women everyday feminism women's work young feminists Nandini Archer Fri, 16 Nov 2018 13:10:09 +0000 Nandini Archer 119472 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The Backlash podcast episode 5: targeted hate https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/lara-whyte/backlash-podcast-episode-5-targeted-hate <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">Social media propaganda. Data-mining. Foreign interference in Ireland's abortion referendum. The backlash against our rights goes online.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/PA-39425378.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/PA-39425378.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The backlash against sexual and reproductive rights is also online. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>For our fifth episode of the Backlash podcast, we take a deep dive into the murky world of social media targeting and how anti-rights groups are increasingly taking their fight against women's and LGBT rights online. </p><p dir="ltr">We talk to <b>50.50 fellow Sophie Hemery</b> about her investigation into how some evangelical Christians have used online platforms to target LGBT young people with 'dehumanising' videos.<b> Campaigner Liz Carolan </b>explains how activists in Ireland managed to force greater transparency on targeted adverts ahead of that country's abortion referendum.<b> </b>And we hear from <b>openDemocracy's editor-in-chief Mary Fitzgerald </b>about what it means for democracy when powerful groups can so easily target us online.</p> <p dir="ltr"><iframe width="100%" height="120" src="https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&feed=%2F5050od%2Fthe-backlash-podcast-episode-5-targeted-hate%2F" frameborder="0" ></iframe></p> <p dir="ltr"><b>Lara Whyte (LW):</b>&nbsp;Hello and welcome to The Backlash, a podcast series tracking threats against women’s and LGBT rights, brought to you by&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/">50.50</a>, the gender and sexuality section of openDemocracy. I’m Lara Whyte and I am your host.</p><p dir="ltr">Grassroots, intersectional, feminist campaigning is how we&nbsp;realise&nbsp;our rights. Supported of course by investigative journalists doing their jobs. This month we wanted to take a look back at <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/claire-provost-rocio-ros-rebollo/world-reaction-ireland-historic-vote-abortion-rights">Ireland’s historic referendum to legalise abortion</a>&nbsp;as it was a rare moment to celebrate and one that we here at 50.50 spent a lot of time working on. </p><p dir="ltr">As part of our investigation into how international actors from all over the world gathered to support the "No" campaign, we learned a lot about how Facebook and Google adverts can be targeted directly into your newsfeed. They didn’t win, but these groups flexed new muscles, and&nbsp;its&nbsp;important to understand how these groups often do win on social, and how we can fight back against them.</p><p dir="ltr">Coming up we will be discussing the referendum and the online tricks played by the No campaign with Liz Carolyn from the <a href="http://tref.ie/">Transparency Referendum Initiative (TRI)</a> in Ireland and openDemocracy’s editor-in-chief, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/mary-fitzgerald">Mary Fitzgerald</a>.</p><p>First, I am delighted to welcome our <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/sophie-hemery">feminist investigative journalism fellow Sophie Hemery,</a> who dug into the different ways LGBTQ+ individuals are targeted online by evangelical Christian groups who disagree with their right to exist. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/sophie-hemery/us-evangelicals-target-lgbt-young-people-facebook-youtube-ads">She investigated a group called Anchored North,</a> who make highly shareable, beautifully crafted videos that hide the ugliness of what they are actually saying. Sophie began by explaining how this Christain ministry use and abuse social media to spread their message of hate.&nbsp;</p><p><b>Sophie Hemery (SH)</b>: So they use various social media platforms and one of their founders Greg Sukert told me they’re always innovating and always looking for kind of new ways to reach people but, currently, they mainly use Facebook and also Google ads via YouTube. And they just use the standard paid advertisement capacities that are available on these platforms to kind of micro-target their adverts at what they call ‘interest groups.’ But those interest groups are basically potentially vulnerable communities, for instance, LGBTQ+ people or women seeking abortions.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/anchored north.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/anchored north.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="318" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot of Anchored North video. Credit: Anchored North. </span></span></span><b>LW:</b> How do they actually reach these users? Describe the process they go through to "find the lost", and how they spend a lot of money trying to do so...</p><p><b>SH:</b> So I found that, previously, Facebook was allowing advertisers to target adverts based on [users'] stated sexual preference. However, they did remove that ability a while ago but then people like Anchored North were using the ability to target based on groups that users had clicked ‘Like’ on Facebook. So, for instance, if they had clicked ‘Like’ on Pride or Planned Parenthood, they would kind of deduce likely characteristics about those people and target adverts accordingly. Due to recent scandals over user privacy and how Facebook was using users’ data, Facebook actually removed over half of these targeting options, which potentially could have kind of impeded Anchored North’s capacity to target adverts in this way. But, speaking to the founder, he said this basically hasn’t affected their ability to target these groups because of other capacities that Facebook offers paid advertisers. He said it’s basically changed nothing and they’re still allowed to target these people.</p><p><b>LW:</b> How much of their business model was based on Facebook, do you think?</p><p><b>SH:</b> Facebook is the main platform they use to target people, yeah.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LW:</b> And did you find anything else out about how, you know, this type of targeting works on Google?</p><p dir="ltr"><b>SH:</b> So they also use YouTube and they’re able to target people who are searching for certain keywords and this has kind of been an increasing scandal on YouTube. Because YouTube is often where young or recently coming out or soon to come out LGBTQ+ people watch videos and it's, according to an organisation we spoke to, LGBT Tech, YouTube can provide kind of a safe haven for LGBTQ+ people, in particular, looking for supportive content. </p><p dir="ltr">And Anchored North and other similar organisations’ adverts were coming up before these videos as pre-roll content and certain users on YouTube had flagged this and, yeah, having spoken to the founder of Anchored North, he explained that that was, you know, something that was really great for them. You know, an anti-abortion video could come up before a supportive video about abortion or, similarly, for LGBTQ+ content, a gay conversion therapy video could come up before that content.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">An anti-abortion video could come up before a supportive video about abortion, or for LGBTQ+ content, a gay conversion therapy video could come up.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LW:</b> So you watched a lot of these videos, I know, and really, are they hate? Because the problem is Facebook seems to be saying: 'We can’t control religion' or 'It’s freedom of speech'. What was your experience of watching them? Did you consider them hate?</p><p dir="ltr"><b>SH:</b> Yes, I do. But I think organisations such as Anchored North are very clever. For instance, specifically with Anchored North, you know, among their founders are really expert digital marketers who also work for corporates. Sukert says himself that, you know, Facebook has trouble defining hate speech, he’s well aware of this, and the way that they create their content is designed specifically to get around rules and to fall through the net. They use personal stories because, as Sukert says, Facebook loves stories and they are designed to not violate the hate speech policies. However, obviously there’s so much nuance in that and there is a big difference between somebody sharing their personal story, with no intention to evangelise or affect others, and what they’re doing, which is with that explicit intention. And I think, clearly, Facebook’s policies on hate speech are not taking into account that nuance and it’s only when, through investigations such as this, content and adverts that are violating that policy, that have fallen through the net, then they will remove them. But obviously, that is a completely unsustainable model for keeping users safe.&nbsp;</p><p><b>LW: </b>Scary stuff there from Sophie, and you <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/sophie-hemery/us-evangelicals-target-lgbt-young-people-facebook-youtube-ads">can read her investigation on our website</a>, go to the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/tracking-backlash">tracking the backlash</a> page. To refresh your memory: here at 50.50, we revealed how No campaign groups were illegally accepting foreign donations online – and how foreign groups targeted Irish voters with anti-abortion propaganda using social media. It is illegal in Ireland for any foreign group to contribute to an election or referendum campaign. But online spaces, as have heard, seemed pretty much unregulated. Amid mounting concern about foreign groups trying to influence the vote, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2018/may/24/how-facebook-is-influencing-the-irish-abortion-referendum">Facebook introduced a ban</a> on foreign adverts ahead of the vote, and <a href="https://www.irishtimes.com/business/media-and-marketing/google-bans-online-ads-on-abortion-referendum-1.3489046">Google banned all adverts.</a>&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/keepireland.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/keepireland.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="254" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Keep Ireland Abortion Free banner, posted on Facebook by a US group which paid to have it targeted at Irish voters. Photo: Chris Slattery/EMC-Frontline Pregnancy Centers.</span></span></span>I asked <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/mary-fitzgerald">openDemocracy’s editor-in-chief Mary Fitzgerald</a>, who worked across our investigation and openDemocracy's dark money dig into the DUP, how significant do you think that ban was – and why do you social media companies think they took this step?</p><p dir="ltr"><b>Mary Fitzgerald (MF):</b> I think it’s hugely significant; it's the first time that had really happened. And it feels important that they publicly recognised&nbsp;their responsibility in ensuring that the integrity of elections and referendums was respected and that national decisions and national conversations should be national decisions and national conversations.</p><p dir="ltr">However, unfortunately in this case, certainly in the case of Facebook, it was very easy to circumvent their bans. They talked about a combination of human resourcing and machine learning and AI that was going to be deployed to protect the integrity of this vote and yet our journalists were able, in just a matter of hours, to circumvent these bans and post adverts aimed at Irish voters on the Irish abortion referendum question from locations outside of Ireland. </p><p dir="ltr">And this wasn’t done with any particularly sophisticated masking software or devices or IP addresses, so whatever they claim they were preventing, that they were deploying their vast resources to stop, they weren’t in any way succeeding in doing that.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LW:</b> This was clearly not effective, as we saw – yet there’s something that I think got lost in the debate – the tech companies’ self-regulation didn’t – doesn’t – work. What did you think of their reaction?</p><p dir="ltr"><b>MF:</b> It seemed very knee-jerk. It seemed also that it was a PR effort and actually they weren’t really deploying anywhere near the type of resource that you would need to deploy to be able to make such a ban like this work and make such a guarantee to the Irish people effective.</p><p dir="ltr">And, you know, at the same time as Mark Zuckerberg was telling MEPs in Brussels about how they were taking all these measures to ensure the integrity of democracy and to help protect it – literally that day, I think – we were posting ads aimed at Irish voters and it was very, very easy to do so.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">At the same time as Mark Zuckerberg was telling MEPs in Brussels about these measures, literally that day, we were posting ads aimed at Irish voters.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LW:</b> There’s also the legal case – which I think was overlooked unfairly: at 50.50, Claire Provost managed to donate to some of the biggest anti-abortion groups, from outside Ireland. And we at 50.50 worked with our colleagues on openDemocracy’s ongoing dark money investigation, digging up so much dirt on how foreign activists were trying to keep abortion illegal in Ireland, that <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/six-ways-Ireland-abortion-vote-hacked-foreign-influence">we made it into a listicle.</a></p><p dir="ltr">And I suppose the thing that I couldn’t really get my head around was that I understood why Russia would interfere in the US election and why it might have an interest in Brexit, but what I have found difficult is why foreign groups would be interested in Ireland voting to do most other western countries voted to&nbsp;do 50 years ago. Why was it so important, do you think?</p><p dir="ltr"><b>MF:</b> Yeah, so I think the reason why openDemocracy as a whole is interested in this subject is that we didn’t take a position, let’s say, on the Brexit referendum but we were very concerned about the undisclosed, untraceable sources of funding that particularly appeared to have bankrolled the Leave campaign. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/dup-dark-money">We’d done a lot of work exposing the secret donation that was made to the DUP for their Brexit campaign</a>, which was done through a very secretive channel, involving a front company and a bag man and all kinds of nefarious goings-on.</p><p dir="ltr">And, to us, the question of the Irish abortion referendum raised some similar issues and concerns in that it seemed as though – and it was indeed proven through our investigation that – networks and groups outside of Ireland were able to deploy a lot of resource to support one side of the argument.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/irishabortionad.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/irishabortionad.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="180" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot of ‘fake’ Facebook page set up by openDemocracy 50.50 to test the ban on referendum-related ads ahead of the Irish vote. Credit: Facebook.</span></span></span>And despite there being rules and laws in place to prevent such things happening and I think despite the result, which was very emphatically pro-Yes – and most of the groups we identified were trying to influence and advocate for the No side, so they didn’t succeed in this instance – there is a much deeper question about how electoral processes can be interfered with. By whom? Through what channels? Are our laws robust enough? You know, do we have the accountability and transparency over political funding and through political campaigning that we need both here in the UK and in Ireland and in other European countries and in the US? And the answer is just emphatically no.</p><p dir="ltr">I mean, people were able to donate to the No campaign in Ireland, regardless of where they were based geographically, which is in direct contravention of the law. And really, if you broaden this out more, this raises massive concerns. Both the Facebook and Google issue and the funding issue and the sort of boots on the ground volunteers that were coming from all over the world to weigh in on this issue, raise huge concerns about, you know, who is trying to influence what we see, what we hear and what we read: and how successful are they? And what do we need to know about them?</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">There's a much deeper question to be asked about how electoral processes can be interfered with. By whom? Through what channels? Are our laws robust enough?&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">There is a great asymmetry of power here between very well-resourced networks and individuals and organisations and citizens who think that they’re engaging in a democratic vote, you know, in a contest that’s going to be democratically decided. And they’re not aware of all the forces at play that are trying to influence their decision.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LW:</b> That was <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/mary-fitzgerald">openDemocracy’s editor-in-chief</a> talking about the foreign, but ultimately unsuccessful, interference in Ireland’s abortion referendum. </p><p dir="ltr">And I think some credit needs to go where it’s due here – there was this groundswell of pro-choice digital and activism and in the lead up to the vote. The tone was really gentle, at times I thought it was too gentle, but it worked, so that's the most important thing. There were some really great tactics used that women’s rights organisers should be studying, I certainly hope they are. </p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="http://tref.ie/">Transparency Referendum Initiative (TRI) </a>and their allies did a lot of the heavy lifting in gathering the data that our reporting on 50.50 dug into, revealing the range of illegal foreign and far right contributors to anti-abortion campaigns ahead of the vote.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Liz Carolan is a founder of the TRI, advisor at the <a href="https://opendatacharter.net/">Open Data Charter,</a> and associate at the <a href="https://theodi.org/">Open Data Institute</a>. I asked her how this initiative started.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>Liz Carolan (LC): </b>Yeah, so a group of friends got together and we sort of work in different areas that all seemed to come together around this question of digital ads. And we were having a chat kind of over Christmas about looking at the different revelations and at that point, it already started to come out about the sort of misuse of social media in order to try to disrupt democratic campaigns. And kind of looking at the Irish abortion referendum and the fact that it’s a highly contentious issue here at home but also of potential kind of symbolic significance to other people around the world. </p><p dir="ltr">And also looking at our really quite lax laws when it comes to kind of overseas activity. There were a few alarm bells going off there so we decided to try to do a concrete project to, at a minimum, sort of bring some of this activity into the public domain – the activity that was happening online – so it could be kind of exposed to scrutiny.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/PA-35958243.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/PA-35958243.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="342" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, testifying before a United States senate committee. Photo: Ron Sachs/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>I think actually one of the really kind of points when this idea sort of stuck in my mind was watching the US senate testimony, where there was a senate hearing and they were, you know, trying to figure out what had happened in the 2016 presidential election. And, you know, there were these, senators sitting around and they were looking at these kind of blown-up images – they were screenshots, really, or even kind of photographs of a computer – of some of the ads that they were then able to subsequently trace back to Russian interference. And, you know, just the thought that, if, in a context like that, what they ended up using to try to figure out what happened was these, you know, screenshots or photographs or computers – that kind of terrified me a little bit. And so that’s where sort of the idea came from, to (as much as possible) try to gather the evidence in advance, make it publicly available immediately, so that we could understand what was happening before people vote.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The idea was to try and gather the evidence in advance, make it publicly available immediately, so that we could understand what was happening before people vote.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LW: </b>So why do you think Facebook took the decision to ban foreign adverts ahead of the vote?</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LC:</b> So when it comes to sort of, you know, why Facebook took this decision: I think they were in a way left with no option. You know, we were able to bring some of the activity that was happening online to their attention, as much as to everyone else’s attention. And I think there was a lot of really, really fantastic journalism that took place using the data that we were publishing, that kind of, you know, really, really put pressure on for some sort of action to take place.</p><p dir="ltr">I think as well there were quite a few members of our parliament that we were working with who were also kind of raising the issue and trying to figure out what could be done about it. In terms of the action that they took I think, you know, that your experience and the experience of lots of other people indicates that it was pretty ineffective.</p><p dir="ltr">You know, there was an Irish [pro-choice] group here – they were registered; I was able to pull up their company registration details in about five seconds – who were refused the right to place ads, even though they had fundraised for it; they had done everything correctly. And, even when they appealed to Facebook, there was no moving. We were able to kind of use our channels into Facebook to get that unblocked.</p><p dir="ltr">So it seems to be that, you know, both: They were getting it wrong in terms of who was Irish-based and who wasn’t Irish-based. And also that, you know, in terms of its application, they didn’t really seem to be that open or willing to engage with people who were clearly being disadvantaged by the moves. I think overall, you know, the sort of attempts at self-regulation just didn’t work.</p><p dir="ltr">And Facebook talk a lot, like Mark Zuckerberg – when he was speaking to European parliamentarians and to the US congress – he, you know, kept talking about AI as a solution to these problems, as if it was some sort of, you know, magic trick that would fix everything. That was the basis of their response here and it just failed; it just didn’t work, you know. It’s too kind of complicated to do things. And I think there’s an increasing recognition with Facebook and some of the other companies that, actually, they don’t want to take this on themselves.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/PA-39305032.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/PA-39305032.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Facebook's ban on foreign ads was easy to circumvent. Photo: FrankHoermann/SVEN SIMON/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>In a way, they want legislation and rules there to kind of give them a bit of cover, you know. And we’re seeing that, even in the last couple of weeks, with this resurgence of the narrative around the company sort of censoring conservative or right-leaning groups. I think there’s a sense among the companies that they don’t want to have to do this; and it’s not what they were set up to do, you know.</p><p dir="ltr">Even now, Facebook have agreed to try to look back through their records and release some data on what happened during the referendum. We’re partnering with them and a university here to get that data. But, you know, they didn’t differentiate between an ad that was trying to change the outcome of a referendum and an ad for socks or flights or something else, you know, because they are a private company and their goal is to sell advertising space.</p><p dir="ltr">The realm of politics and of public opinion in these sorts of things is something they know nothing about. They don’t have the skills; they don’t have the capability to do it. And so then, you know, it really is little wonder then that when they try to take a self-regulatory step that they just, you know, that it fails.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">They didn't differentiate between an ad that was trying to change the outcome of a referendum and an ad for socks.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LW: </b>So earlier, we heard how social media companies have been enabling targeted hate to be directed to those who would be most damaged by it, and I wanted to ask you about the kinds of adverts that were being reported to you. Have you been surprised by what you found through the TRI?</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LC:</b> Yeah. I mean, it’s really disturbing to hear about some of the, you know, the use of this tool to basically attack and hurt people. And we saw that here during the referendum. There were really, really graphic images. There was one of, you know, basically a post-miscarriage scene that was being targeted at women, at young women, and at women who were campaigning. And that, to me, is just a deliberate attempt – and it sounds like some of the examples you’ve been uncovering of the kind of targeting of LGBT people – just a deliberate attempt to hurt, you know; it almost feels like an act of violence.</p><p>One thing I noticed about those ads that were happening here is that the groups behind the advertising, the targeting, these kinds of things, were anonymous. It was very difficult to trace who had done them. You know, we found that some of the more official campaigns, you know, they would never dream of engaging in that kind of activity, in part because they knew they had to go on the radio the next day and they had spokespeople. But also I think people behave very differently when they can hide behind a mask. In terms of where the companies are on this: I think they – and probably a lot of the rest of us as well – you know, they’re not very far along the learning curve.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">One thing I noticed about those ads is that the groups behind the advertising, the targeting, were anonymous.</p><p dir="ltr">I think they’re at the point where, you know, they recognise that they have kind of blindly wandered into a territory, which is dark; it’s, you know, terra incognita in a way. There are all sorts of consequences of the technology that they’ve been building that they did not anticipate. I think, you know, they’re starting to feel that, from what I’ve kind of heard anecdotally from people who work in these companies. They’re starting to feel that, to be honest, in terms of their recruitment and their retention, in terms of their staff morale.</p><p>You know, people joined these companies thinking that they were joining a force for good in the world and now they’re having to kind of reckon with the fact that it’s being used for ill. I’m not sure to what extent that process, almost like a psychological process, they’ve gone through to get to the point where they can start to think about it.</p><p dir="ltr">But I think, you know, these questions are… it comes down to questions of free speech, of, you know: to what extent is their identity as a public square or is it their identity as a publisher? You know, these are sort of quite existential questions and I think, to be honest, they would prefer if somebody else just took it on and told them what to do. And, you know, I think I’m with the first to push for a regulatory response to these things, rather than relying on private companies to do some of this work for us.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">There are all sorts of consequences of the technology that they've been building that they did not anticipate.</p><p dir="ltr">But, you know, looking at our regulators, they do not have the technical capabilities or insight to be able to do that on their own and I think there is going to have to be some sort of a collaborative response. One thing that I worry about quite a lot is, you know – in the UK, in Ireland, say, in Sweden at the moment, or even in the US – we can rely on our state institutions, to an extent, to respond to this sort of thing, even if it’s slow. And, you know, we can kind of get there in the end with a lot of pressure and hard work.</p><p dir="ltr">There are plenty of countries in the world where Facebook operates. I mean, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-46105934">look at what’s happening in Myanmar at the moment,</a> where the state institutions aren’t going to be on the side of, you know, the public good. And so we are going to have to rely on these companies who operate in all but ten countries in the world – as Facebook do – to be doing something themselves, to make sure that they have a lid on this.</p><p dir="ltr">But it’s very tricky and they’re not going to be able to do it with AI. What is the difference between, say – you know, you mentioned earlier an evangelical organisation sort of targeting LGBT people – how can an AI tell the difference between a group like that communicating with its own base about particular issues and an attack ad? There’s so much context in that, you know.</p><p dir="ltr">There’s so much kind of nuance that’s required to do that. And these companies make billions; they make a huge amount of money and yet they kind of cry that they don’t have, you know, the resources to be able to do some of that more nuanced work and that they’re going to have to rely on AI. I can see why.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">These companies make billions; they make a huge amount of money and yet they cry that they don't have the resources to be able to do some of that more nuanced work.</p><p dir="ltr">AI is a bit of technology; you pay your coders and you just kind of let it run. That’s not going to fly. It’s going to have to take more than that.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LW:</b> So Google banned all adverts in the lead up to the vote – yet we haven’t heard a huge amount about them in the fall out. Why do you think that is?</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LC: </b>Yeah, so Google seem to be much more of a closed box than Facebook. Our engagement with Facebook… we were kind of given a dedicated email address; we kind of got the impression that they were, you know, willing to engage or at least that they saw it as important to appear to be engaging with us. Google are much more of a closed box and I’m not sure if that’s because they’ve kind of gotten away with it a little bit – you know, Cambridge Analytica... all the focus has been on Facebook – whereas I think the Google advertising network, and particularly YouTube, is one where, you know, there’s storms brewing there and they’re going to have to get their house in order.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">I think the Google advertising network, and particularly YouTube, is where there are storms brewing and they're going to have to get their house in order.</p><p dir="ltr">We have found it quite difficult to engage with them. They still haven’t given a proper reason as to why they – so, two or three weeks before the referendum, they pulled all advertising and this did lead to a very strong reaction, in particular from the No campaign. They kind of called a big joint press conference, which they hadn’t held before and, you know, there was a headline in I think one of the kind of US right-leaning newspapers the next day, talking about Silicon Valley sort of silencing the anti-abortion movement in Ireland. And, you know, you still see it kind of being used, that ban being kind of held up as yet another example of tech companies’ bias against conservative movements.</p><p dir="ltr">I mean, the ban equally applied to both sides of the campaign and the Yes campaign – so the kind of pro-change, bringing in abortion access – they had planned to launch their Google ad campaign the day that the ban came in. But I think it was pretty clear that this was going to be one of the main avenues through which the No campaign were going to push in the last final weeks.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/Ireland3.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/Ireland3.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>An anti-abortion campaign truck picture, posted on Facebook. Photo: Save the 8th/Facebook.</span></span></span>I’ve asked the No campaign to sort of share what they had planned during the last few weeks and the kind of head of that said, “Oh well let’s not get into re-litigating the referendum,” which is convenient because they’re happy to keep using it as an excuse but they don’t want to get into the details of what they had planned. I mean, I think that’s what we really need to know: what was it that Google saw that made them take this decision? </p><p dir="ltr">Because if it was large amounts of overseas financing coming in then that’s something that citizens have the right to know. But if it was, in effect, an act of censorship of a legitimate campaign then that’s a very dangerous precedent and one that actually we need to have some information around to be debating. But until they give us that information, it is fueling a narrative on the conservative right, you know, here in Ireland, probably to a larger extent in the US, that Silicon Valley is sort of against them.</p><p dir="ltr"><b>LW: </b>Liz Carolan there, from the <a href="http://tref.ie/">Transparency Referendum Initiative,</a> and before that there you heard from Mary Fitzgerald, editor-in-chief of open Democracy, and Sophie Hemery, one of 50.50’s feminist investigative journalism fellows. Before you go, I wanted to draw your attention to some of our biggest stories from the past while on 50.50.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/zahnh.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/564081/zahnh.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="334" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Women in Tehran, 2017. Photo: Jochen Eckel/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>We are very pleased to be introducing a new young writer inside Iran, going by the name of Zaynab. Her first piece for 50.50 – <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/zaynab-h/women-bodies-have-become-battleground-in-fight-for-iran-future">Women’s bodies have become a battleground in the fight for Iran’s future</a> – is a chilling read.</p><p dir="ltr">We also have a lot of great, front line reporting pieces on how women are fighting back against online bullies – all over the world – some good pieces on trolling, and how women are responding.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">One of these is by Sian Norris on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sian-norris/tackling-trolls-how-women-fighting-back-online-bullies">how women are fighting back against online bullies</a>. The other is by <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/nandini-archer">50.50’s Nandini Archer </a>on the angry backlash to our reporting on an international gathering of anti-feminist men’s rights activists (MRAs), and we also have a piece coming up on what to do if you have been the target of hate one – as we in 5050 have over the MRA work we did. Resources that help you feel safer, and how to protect yourself. </p><p>We here at 50.50 would also like to thank <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/roc-o-ros-rebollo">Rocio Ros,</a> who has been working with us this summer and helping us with this podcast, amongst many many other things. She will <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/roc-o-ros-rebollo">continue writing</a> for 50.50 from Spain. Thank you Rocio!</p><p>You have been listening to The Backlash, by <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050">50.50</a>, openDemocracy’s gender and sexuality section. This podcast was presented and produced by me, Lara Whyte, and mixed and sound edited with original music by Simone Lai. Big thanks to our feminist investigative journalism fellows for their work this month, and to Brittney Ferreira, who helped transcribe this episode.</p><p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050">50.50</a> is an independent feminist media platform. You can find us on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/5050od?lang=en">@5050oD</a>, and you can support our work by donating on our website. Help us track the backlash against women’s and LGBT rights.</p><p><i>This episode of The Backlash was presented and produced by Lara Whyte. Audio editing and music production by Simone Lai.</i></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/isobel-thompson/irish-anti-abortion-campaigners-brexit-trump-data-companies">How Irish anti-abortion activists are drawing on Brexit and Trump campaigns to influence referendum</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/six-ways-Ireland-abortion-vote-hacked-foreign-influence">Six ways Ireland’s abortion referendum could be hacked this week</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Ireland </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Ireland Civil society Democracy and government Equality International politics Internet Podcast World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media Tracking the backlash women's human rights women's health young feminists Lara Whyte Fri, 16 Nov 2018 08:05:24 +0000 Lara Whyte 119432 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Online platforms have enabled “deluge of hatred against trans women” in the UK https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sophie-hemery/online-platforms-enable-deluge-hatred-against-trans-women-uk <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Social media platforms have policies against discriminatory and hateful content – but LGBTQ+ rights activists say they’re not working.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/TR1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/TR1.png" alt="lead " title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>“I didn’t know where the next punch was going to come from,” said one trans woman. Photo: PA/PA Archive/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr">Trans people in the UK have faced a “deluge of hatred” and an increasingly “hostile environment” online, say LGBTQ+ rights activists. Social media platforms including Twitter and YouTube have policies intended to prevent discriminatory and hateful content, but activists say they’re not working.</p><p>“If I said I was transgender or supportive of transgender people on Twitter, I would just be pounced on”, said Claire Birkenshaw, a university lecturer and LGBTQ+ rights activist in Leeds, describing this “hostile environment”.</p><p>Adrian Harrop, an NHS doctor and LGBTQ+ activist, said that frequent, sweeping claims that present trans people as “sexual deviants and predatory criminals” appear to be “radicalising” others against trans rights online.</p><p>“I didn’t know where the next punch was going to come from and in the end I had a nervous breakdown”, said Sarah Brown, a former Cambridge city councillor, describing “psychologically exhausting and intimidating” abuse.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“I didn’t know where the next punch was going to come from”</p><p>Brown said there’s been a “deluge of hatred against trans women” in the UK over the last year amid potential reforms to the <a href="https://www.stonewall.org.uk/gender-recognition-act">Gender Recognition Act</a>, which would make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender.</p><p dir="ltr">“The change in public acceptability of transphobia has moved radically within the last six months”, added Ms X, a feminist who requested anonymity amid fears of such abuse and to protect the identity of her trans child. </p><p>Chiara Capraro, women’s human rights programme manager at the NGO Amnesty International UK, said rising transphobia has been fuelled by “misinformation and false statements spreading”.</p><p>Common forms of transphobic abuse include intentionally misgendering trans people or “<a href="https://www.stonewall.org.uk/truth-about-trans#deadnaming-misgendering">deadnaming</a>” them, said Capraro, while false statements include those that present trans women as abusive men.</p><p>Social media platforms have policies against ‘hateful content’ that targets people based on characteristics including gender identity. But they’re not working, said Brown. “It’s almost like they think the only thing that is transphobic is standing in the street shooting trans people”.</p><p dir="ltr">“You get a bunch of people abusing a trans woman, saying she’s a pervy man – pretty much the textbook definition of transphobia”, she said, “and the reports come back saying it doesn’t violate policies”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“It’s almost like they think the only thing that is transphobic is standing in the street shooting trans people”</p><p dir="ltr">“Twitter lends itself very readily to people being bullied off”, said Harrop. He described one tactic called ‘dog-piling’, in which “networks of people… will go onto a post to hurl abuse and try to silence” someone.</p><p dir="ltr">It’s not unusual for harassers to protect their own identities with anonymised accounts, Harrop said, nor is it uncommon for them to “come back in another incarnation” if they’re ever suspended for their comments.</p><p dir="ltr">Brown meanwhile described a “proliferation of fake accounts” over the last year, apparently set up specifically to target trans people, echoing “the American far-right and the tactics in the Trump election”.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/TR2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/TR2.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="258" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Critics say Twitter’s words aren’t met by action. Photo: screenshot of one of Twitter’s own accounts posting: #TransRightsAreHumanRights.</span></span></span>Like other platforms, Twitter has a <a href="https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/hateful-conduct-policy">policy</a> against ‘hateful conduct’ that targets people based on characteristics including gender identity. It also does “not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories”.</p><p dir="ltr">A spokesperson said it “believes in freedom of expression, open dialogue and healthy conversation. That means respecting and protecting the voice of every user, regardless of background, sexual orientation or status”.</p><p dir="ltr">But Brown said this is poorly enforced. She described trying to report Twitter accounts for transphobia as “like playing whack-a-mole”.</p><p dir="ltr">When they happen, suspensions from social media platforms are often temporary. It’s also easy to return with different account names or email addresses – and it’s possible to be suspended from one platform but not others, despite posting similar things on all.</p><h2>‘Like playing whack-a-mole’</h2><p>“I don’t really give credence to the word transphobia,” says one woman, Lisa Muggeridge, in a recent YouTube <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98-l4hRJtVM">video</a>. In others, she <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2SQ3DIJV_8">compares</a> trans women to narcissists who construct fake identities and names specific trans women <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5G4Hzf2oh8">calling them</a> “mad as fuck they can’t be allowed near children”.</p><p dir="ltr">Muggeridge, who’s previously written about British politics for publications including <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/labour-party-working-class-support-jeremy-corbyn-next-labour-leader-567664">Newsweek</a>, <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/27/corbyn-cares-rich-students-poor-inequality-activist-should-know/">the Telegraph</a>, and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/profile/lisa-ansell">the Guardian</a>, is now known among trans rights and anti-trans activists for her outspoken opposition to the proposed gender recognition reforms and ‘aggression’ on social media.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“I don’t really give credence to the word transphobia”</p><p dir="ltr">In June, she <a href="https://idgeofreason.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/twitter-accounts-suspended/">said</a> her plural “Twitter accounts have been suspended”. She appears to have joined and re-joined this platform several times including with slightly <a href="https://twitter.com/TheOnlySprout/status/1015252242721538049">different usernames</a>. @lisamuggeridge9 appeared in August.</p><p dir="ltr">Last month, this account was <a href="https://idgeofreason.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/hill-am-happy-to-die-on/">suspended</a> after tweeting that “prominent trans activists”, tagging specific individuals, are “deeply mentally unwell males” and that “all cause celebres are peadophiles, violent males, murderers”.</p><p dir="ltr">Muggeridge told me this account “wasn’t me, although I looked at [it] occasionally and tweeted from it. In the few months it was up it was subject to constant mass reporting”, by users saying tweets violated Twitter policies.</p><p>Others have been able to continue sharing her views on the platform. A clip of one of her videos, shared on Twitter, was watched <a href="https://twitter.com/window_truth/status/1052668540149481478">10,000 times</a>. One user responded: “I find her aggression and baseless sanctimony scary. It’s awful seeing her make these videos attacking trans people every week”.</p><p dir="ltr">Users who repeatedly violate YouTube’s <a href="https://www.youtube.com/intl/en-GB/yt/about/policies/#community-guidelines">community guidelines</a> can have their accounts terminated. A spokesperson said its “strict policies… prohibit hate speech against someone based on their gender identity”.</p><p dir="ltr">But, like other platforms, it relies on users to report content that violates its rules. "We care deeply about the LGBT community on YouTube”, they said. “We remove videos violating these policies when flagged by our users".</p><p dir="ltr">Muggeridge said she’s “not a political activist or a public figure” and has been targeted for her comments online, with Twitter “complicit in my abuse”. </p><p dir="ltr">“There is nothing in my videos which is hateful content”, she added. Unlike Twitter, she said, “YouTube don’t seem to have the same issues or same need to censor... but it may be I haven’t come to anyone’s attention”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">"There is nothing in my videos which is hateful content"</p><p dir="ltr">Another British woman, Venice Allan, is <a href="https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/09/26/linda-bellos-private-prosecution-trans-women/">currently</a> facing a private prosecution for posting a video online in which campaigner Linda Bellos (also named in the same court case) threatens to “thump” trans women.</p><p dir="ltr">Last year, she was <a href="https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/feminist-campaigner-venice-allan-kicked-out-of-labour-christmas-party-pqkqnfr76">asked to leave</a> a Christmas party organised by the Labour party’s women’s network because of her anti-trans views. Not long after, she was reportedly <a href="https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/01/23/anti-trans-activist-suspended-from-labour-party-after-posting-transphobic-memes/">suspended</a> from the party.</p><p dir="ltr">Allan has also been <a href="https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/03/23/anti-trans-activist-suspended-from-twitter-following-transphobic-comments/">suspended</a> from Twitter; she told me her @DrRadFem account was permanently suspended, along with two others. She said she was “never given any reason” for this and had only “one tweet that I was asked to remove and a 12-hour ban months before I was suspended”.</p><p dir="ltr">Her <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3Bdqn6eq2A&amp;t=115s">video</a> was not taken down from YouTube, however, where she still has <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdOAL2_mpBKEW4YO4YAPNIA">a channel</a> under the Dr RadFem name. “I’ve never had any content removed from YouTube despite being currently involved in a private prosecution by a trans activist… for the content of one of my videos”, said Allan.</p><p dir="ltr">She added: “That video is also on Facebook and I have not been asked to remove it. I’ve had numerous temporary bans from Facebook but they don’t seem to permanently suspend users [as] commonly as Twitter”.</p><p dir="ltr">On Facebook, Allan has an account under her name and another under Offred Cohen (now Rose Allan). In one post, she asks followers if they’d “take on” trans rights activist Roz Kaveney, due to give a public talk.</p><p dir="ltr">Several responded with aggressive comments. One said: “Roz is so fucking vile. I hate him with so much fervour. Venice, fart on or near him please”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“I’ve had numerous temporary bans from Facebook but they don’t seem to permanently suspend users [as] commonly as Twitter”</p><p dir="ltr">More than 700 leaked screenshots from a ‘secret’ Facebook group called Campaign Against the Takeover (CATT) also feature transphobic posts including some ridiculing specific trans individuals.</p><p dir="ltr">One CATT post says members should recruit more users of <a href="http://www.mumsnet.com">Mumsnet</a>, the UK’s largest parenting website, to join their group. Another shares tips on how to re-join Mumsnet after being suspended under its moderation policy.</p><p dir="ltr">“Just managed to get back onto Mumsnet under yet another fake email addy, tunnelbear to hide [my] ISP and another username”, it said.</p><p dir="ltr">Facebook’s <a href="https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards">Community Standards</a> defines hate speech as attacks, including “violent or dehumanising speech” and “calls for exclusion or segregation”, towards people based on characteristics including gender identity.</p><p dir="ltr">“There is no place for hate speech on Facebook” a spokesperson told us. “When people break our rules, including in secret groups, we move quickly and take appropriate action. We are investigating the content brought to our attention by openDemocracy”, they added.</p><h2>“A breeding ground for overt transphobia”</h2><p>Mumsnet is “the paramount example in the online community of a breeding ground for overt transphobia”, according to Harrop.</p><p>Earlier this year, <a href="https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3302495-This-is-how-traffic-to-the-feminism-board-has-increased">one Mumsnet user said</a> there’s been an almost 12-fold increase since 2016 in the number of people entering the site through the ‘feminist chat’ forum, which is dominated by anti-trans messages.</p><p dir="ltr">Recently, some of its users <a href="https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/womens_rights/3402805-bbc-children-in-need-7th-november-ask-them-not-to-fund-mermaids-allsorts#prettyPhoto">posted</a> about campaigning to stop the BBC Children in Need fundraising programme from supporting trans children.</p><p dir="ltr">“The way [Mumsnet users] highlight specific individuals and target them for abuse on other social media platforms and in real life is utterly disgraceful”, added Harrop, who says he has faced this personally.</p><p dir="ltr">He described threads where “hundreds of Mumsnet users” seem to “congratulate and cheer each other on” while uncovering and publishing personal details including his home address and workplace.</p><p dir="ltr">“This all happens under the watch of the moderators of Mumsnet”, Harrop said, pointing to a former local Labour party women’s officer and LGBTQ+ rights activist Lily Madigan as likely “the biggest victim”.</p><p dir="ltr">Frequent posts, he said, “make horrendous personal comments about her appearance and style of dress... essentially sexually objectifying her”.</p><h2>“At the moment we’re being ignored”</h2><p dir="ltr">Unlike other platforms, Mumsnet has <a href="https://www.mumsnet.com/info/trans-rights-moderation-policy">a specific moderation policy on trans rights</a>, which it introduced in June.</p><p>It says the website hosts “intelligent and different opinions” and “civilised discussion”, and doesn’t want to feel “inherently hostile to any group”, including ‘gender-critical feminists’ that oppose trans rights reforms.</p><p dir="ltr">In a statement, Mumsnet’s CEO Justine Roberts explained that its moderators are “likely to delete misgendering, the term 'trans-identified male'”, and “sweeping negative generalisations about trans people”.</p><p dir="ltr">But it doesn’t have “hard and fast rules” or “a definitive list of banned terms”. It’s also possible to be “banned elsewhere but… [not] on Mumsnet”, Roberts said, as “we can only moderate on our own site, to our own guidelines”.</p><p dir="ltr">For Ms X, the mother of a trans child, this is not good enough. She said Mumsnet and other online platforms are shirking their responsibilities.</p><p dir="ltr">These platforms must accept that they are “accountable,” she said, “for the individuals who are currently using their platform to mobilise activity to the obvious detriment of a vulnerable minority”.</p><p dir="ltr">Brown, the former Cambridge city councillor, added that social media companies need to urgently train moderators on trans rights.</p><p dir="ltr">“You have to actually engage with trans communities, find out what our concerns are, why we’re unable to speak, why we’re being driven off these platforms”, she told me. “At the moment we’re being ignored”.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* 50.50 is tracking the backlash against trans rights as part of the ongoing series<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/tracking-backlash"> tracking the backlash</a> against women’s and LGBT rights. </em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u565030/wfdsmalllogo.png" alt="wfdsmalllogo.png" width="140" height="107" /></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>This article was published as part of the World Forum for Democracy 2018. <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank">Read more here</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/claire-provost-nandini-archer/christian-right-feminists-uk-trans-rights">Christian right and some UK feminists ‘unlikely allies’ against trans rights </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 UK Equality Internet World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media Tracking the backlash gender young feminists Sophie Hemery Thu, 15 Nov 2018 10:49:36 +0000 Sophie Hemery 120307 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Attacks on women's ministries are a threat to democracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/gillian-kane/attacks-on-womens-ministries-are-threat-to-democracy <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Women’s ministries in Brazil and beyond have been under attack from the right for years – foreshadowing wider threats to democracy.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/1024px-Jair_Messias_Bolsonaro_(rosto).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Jair Bolsonaro"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/1024px-Jair_Messias_Bolsonaro_(rosto).jpg" alt="Jair Bolsonaro" title="Jair Bolsonaro" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Photo: Jair Bolsonaro, poised to become Brazil’s next president. Photo: Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil/Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 2.0. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr">In February 2016, a few months after Brazil’s only female president, Dilma Rousseff, was impeached, the country’s newly installed interim-government under President Michel Temer issued one of its first directives.</p><p dir="ltr">With political leaders embroiled in <a href="https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/brazils-corruption-fallout">a massive statewide corruption scandal,</a> and the country anguished over the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/news-event/zika-virus">Zika health crisis</a>, few noticed the official mandate to &nbsp;dissolve the Ministry of Women and replace it with the Secretariat of Policies for Women, now tucked away inside the Ministry of Justice. </p><p dir="ltr">This seemingly incidental administrative demotion, coupled with the appointment of an evangelical, anti-abortion congresswoman to lead the agency, has contributed to the abnegation of women’s rights in Brazil. </p><p dir="ltr">It also foreshadowed the rise of the right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro, <a href="https://www.apnews.com/1f9b79df9b1d4f14aeb1694f0dc13276">a misogynist, homophobic, former military man</a> who may become Brazil’s next president after this weekend’s runoff election. </p><p dir="ltr">This experience is not unique to Brazil. Many countries with women’s ministries face right-wing and religious attempts to eliminate or downgrade their influence – and in some cases, to change their mandates altogether. When this happens, it’s a strong signal that other democratic structures may also be at risk.</p><h2 dir="ltr">Women and democracy </h2><p dir="ltr">The history of women’s ministries goes back to the 1970s, a time of democratic transitions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Women were key contributors to these movements yet their specific needs were often not addressed as new governments formed. </p><p dir="ltr">Protecting women’s human rights was an issue for new democracies, and more established ones. The United States had <a href="https://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/book-excerpts/health-article/u-s-abortion-history/">legalised abortion in 1973,</a> yet marital rape was exempt from the criminal code, women could be fired for being pregnant, and they couldn’t apply for a credit card. Irish women weren’t allowed to sit in pubs; women In Nigeria didn’t have the right to vote; divorce was illegal in Brazil, Chile, and South Africa. </p><p dir="ltr">Against this backdrop, the United Nations’ <a href="http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/otherconferences/Mexico/Mexico%20conference%20report%20optimized.pdf">1975 World Conference of Women called</a> for the creation of “national gender machineries” for the advancement of women. National machineries is UN-speak for government-recognised bodies such as ministries, departments or directorates. </p><p dir="ltr">This was a groundbreaking step and a critical necessity to ensure the health, security, and basic human rights of women and girls. It was also well-received by countries internationally. At the end of the World Decade for Women in 1985, <a href="http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/followup/session/presskit/hist.htm">127 UN member states</a> had some kind of national institution focused on women. By 2010, <a href="http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/TechnicalCooperation/GLOBAL_SYNTHESIS_REPORT_Dec%202010.pdf">all but four countries</a> had an office like this. </p><p dir="ltr">Of course, not all offices fulfill their mandates. Their success varies depending on funding, political will, and where they sit within the government hierarchy. Still, by merely establishing such a mechanism, a government at least tacitly acknowledges that women’s human rights require a dedicated focus, and that they are willing to put some resources behind this.</p><h2 dir="ltr">Under serious threat</h2><p dir="ltr">The US is among the few countries without a dedicated women’s office. Though it has come close to creating one. </p><p dir="ltr">In 1995, President Clinton opened the Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach, which was <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2001-03-30-0103300301-story.html">swiftly shuttered</a> once President Bush took power in 2001. President Obama tried in again 2009, establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls, and the State Department Office of Global Women’s Issues. </p><p dir="ltr">Today, neither of these offices are listed on the White House website. Donald Trump’s administration has decimated their staff and senior leadership, refusing to appoint an<a href="https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/biog/title/as/204538.htm"> ambassador-at-large</a> for Global Women’s Issues, or <a href="https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/09/20/one-small-step-for-feminist-foreign-policy-women-canada/">fill</a> other key vacancies. Meanwhile, many career staffers have left. </p><p dir="ltr">Women’s ministries throughout the world have enabled significant progress, especially on efforts to address violence against women, and increase women’s political participation. <a href="http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/TechnicalCooperation/GLOBAL_SYNTHESIS_REPORT_Dec%202010.pdf">Regional studies</a> show that effective gender machineries are a sign of a strong democracy. It’s alarming that these structures, to protect and promote women’s rights, are now under serious threat. </p><p dir="ltr">In<a href="http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/announced-croatian-demography-ministry-potentially-limiting-abortion-01-11-2016"> Croatia</a>, <a href="https://www.elespectador.com/noticias/politica/proponen-crear-el-ministerio-de-familia-articulo-474725">Colombia</a>, <a href="https://www.laprensalibre.cr/Noticias/detalle/89047/diputado-cristiano-presenta-proyecto-para-cerrar-el-inamu">Costa Rica</a>, the <a href="https://www.elcaribe.com.do/2017/11/13/panorama/pelegrin-castillo-apoya-la-creacion-del-ministerio-de-la-familia/">Dominican Republic</a>, <a href="https://www.ultimahora.com/creacion-del-ministerio-la-familia-trataran-nuevos-legisladores-n1302223.html">Paraguay</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/JulioRosasH/photos/a.155871837800509.40157.153141901406836/979902568730761/?type=3&amp;theater">Peru</a>, ultra-conservative legislators and activists have called for new family ministries to be established, or for women’s ministries to be replaced by these. </p><p dir="ltr">They are part of a wider movement that wants the family – narrowly defined as a married man, woman and (ideally many) children – to have primacy over the individual rights and autonomy of women, girls, and LGBT people.</p><h2 dir="ltr">Open hostility</h2><p dir="ltr">Rising populist movements with regressive social agendas are widely seen as threats to democracy. They are often defined by their anti-free press, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim positions, but they also share an open hostility to women’s human rights.</p><p dir="ltr">Bolsonaro’s steady ascendency in the polls in Brazil has been accompanied by an alarming<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/11/brazil-election-violence-bolsonaro-haddad"> rise in violence</a> against journalists and activists – with women, including trans women, at<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/news-event/zika-virus"> particular risk</a> while reporting or protesting.</p><p dir="ltr">Democracy can only flourish with women’s full participation. Assaults on women’s rights, and government bodies dedicated to women’s protection and empowerment, is a seldomly-mentioned indicator of creeping illiberalism.</p><p dir="ltr">Protecting women’s human rights, by building and preserving legal safeguards in government, is a bulwark against the erosion of functioning democracy. Losing these entities is the Klaxon call that demands our immediate attention.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u565030/wfdsmalllogo.png" alt="wfdsmalllogo.png" width="140" height="107" /></a><p>This article was published as part of the World Forum for Democracy 2018. <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018"" target="_blank">Read more here</a></p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 World Forum for Democracy 2018 Tracking the backlash women's human rights women and power gender Gillian Kane Fri, 26 Oct 2018 15:17:30 +0000 Gillian Kane 120284 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why the United Nations security council must let women speak freely https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/louise-allen/united-nations-security-council-must-let-women-speak-freely <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Women’s civil society advocates were long excluded from the security council. This is changing, but they must be allowed to speak freely.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/33960074442_1d30b502e5_k.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Hajer Sharief from Libya"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/33960074442_1d30b502e5_k.jpg" alt="Hajer Sharief from Libya" title="Hajer Sharief from Libya" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Hajer Sharief from Libya, one of several women civil society advocates who have recently briefed the UN security council. Photo: LNU Photo. CC BY 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p dir="ltr">Women civil society advocates from war-torn countries now have greater access to the United Nations’ security council. This means that, at last, women with lived experiences of dealing with conflict can inform the most powerful global body addressing peace and security issues.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://undocs.org/S/RES/1325(2000)">Resolution 1325</a>, passed in 2000, requires the security council to engage women in conflict resolution. Once or twice a year, an opportunity was created for one woman representing all of civil society to speak during open debates on women, peace and security. This year, these are being held on 25 October.</p><p dir="ltr">However, outside of these annual debates, from its inception in 1946 until just three years ago, civil society representatives were not permitted to brief the security council during country-specific meetings. This has changed.</p><p dir="ltr">In the first nine months of 2018, <a href="http://www.womenpeacesecurity.org/our-work/peacebuilders/">more than a dozen</a> representatives from women’s organisations spoke to the 15 council members. Among them was <a href="http://www.womenpeacesecurity.org/peacebuilder/razia-sultana/">Razia Sultana, the first Rohingya person to ever address the security council</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Why does this matter? These briefings convey intel and perspectives that council members would not otherwise hear.</p><p><a href="http://www.womenpeacesecurity.org/peacebuilder/justine-masika-bihamba/">Justine Masika Bihamba</a> from the Democratic Republic of Congo, explained how UN peacekeeping budget cuts directly affected local populations. <a href="http://www.womenpeacesecurity.org/peacebuilder/mariam-safi/">Mariam Safi</a> from Afghanistan warned that the constitutional changes considered in talks with the Taliban would erode Afghan citizens’ rights.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">“These briefings convey intel and perspectives that council members would not otherwise hear.”</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.womenpeacesecurity.org/peacebuilder-resource-un-security-council-briefing-libya-hajer-shareif-january-2018/">Hajer Sharief</a> from Libya gave a briefing in January, facilitated by the NGO working group on women, peace and security (of which I was executive director, until the end of August). Afterwards, a diplomat told us her account had persuaded some council members to follow up with the head of the country’s UN mission to ensure that her policy recommendations were taken up.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">A growing number of UN member states have <a href="https://undocs.org/S/PV.8318">publicly stated</a> that they welcome such statements by representatives of women’s organisations.</p><p dir="ltr">But the UN – an organisation that defends national sovereignty – has long been reluctant to accept civil society testimony, particularly when it challenges government narratives. Expecting civil society to fit within such narrow parameters undermines the inclusion of women’s testimony and analysis.</p><p dir="ltr">A diplomat once relayed a request from their ambassador to identify a civil society speaker who had either been raped or was born of rape, lived through the stigma of their ordeal and had then had risen to become a leader in their community. The aim was to have someone who could ‘move’ the security council with her story.</p><p dir="ltr">This type of request reduces civil society participation to entertainment – a potentially exploitative or voyeuristic kind – not a partnership. Civil society's role is not to ‘move’ the council. The council and civil society alike must take great care when working with survivors of sexual violence, in order not to sensationalise an individual’s experiences or cause further harm by re-traumatising them.</p><p dir="ltr">This request was dismissed, and a robust conversation with the diplomats ensued to explain why. However, since then, many other council members have similarly asked civil society speakers to focus primarily on their personal experiences, suggesting a preference for personal narrative over local analysis and recommendations.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">“This reduces civil society participation to entertainment – a potentially exploitative or voyeuristic kind.”</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/UNSC1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="The security council, 2015"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/UNSC1.png" alt="The security council, 2015" title="The security council, 2015" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The security council, 2015. Photo: Flickr/United Nations. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>On several occasions, member states have asked for recommendations of women civil society representatives who are compelling speakers, who speak English well, but are not 'too political', contentious or divisive. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">There are also frequent appeals, once invitations are accepted, for civil society speakers to focus remarks narrowly on specific areas, or not to discuss politically sensitive issues. New York-based civil society has countered this and advised that invited speakers should be enabled to give independent statements which best reflect the needs of their communities and the assessments of their organisations. &nbsp;</p><p>It takes political will in the first place for a member state to extend such invitations, as these briefings still do not enjoy universal support from all security council members.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2017, <a href="https://www.france24.com/en/20170310-burundian-peace-activist-barred-un-meeting">an activist from Burundi made headlines</a> when Russia and other members blocked her from speaking. To expect women civil society speakers to limit themselves to communicating a moving personal story is to assume that they are not political analysts and actors with urgent messages to deliver.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">“Powerful statements made by women civil society advocates over the past year have required real political courage”</p><p dir="ltr">The various powerful statements made by women civil society advocates over the past year have required real political courage, both from the women themselves and from the member states that invited them.</p><p dir="ltr">Sultana opened her statement in April by stating that the security council had failed the Rohingya people. She outlined essential recommendations related to the humanitarian situation in Bangladesh, accountability for the Burmese military and legal reforms required for an inclusive and equal Myanmar.</p><p>Afterwards, council members mentioned their surprise at her strongly-worded statement, but recognised that it had been vital for her to denounce inaction.</p><p dir="ltr">Such opportunities should be protected and promoted to further institutionalise women’s participation in this formal setting. Attempts to craft their statements into politically palatable messages contradict the very reason these briefings are so essential – and question whether the role of civil society is genuinely appreciated and understood.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018" target="_blank"><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u565030/wfdsmalllogo.png" alt="wfdsmalllogo.png" width="140" height="107" /></a></p><p>This article was published as part of the World Forum for Democracy 2018. <a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/world-forum-for-democracy-2018"" target="_blank">Read more here</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Civil society Equality International politics World Forum for Democracy 2018 Gender and the UN women's movements women's human rights women and power gender Louise Allen Mon, 22 Oct 2018 10:13:41 +0000 Louise Allen 120206 at https://www.opendemocracy.net ‘Anger is language of justice’ says author of new book on women’s rage https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sian-norris/anger-language-of-justice-new-book-womens-rage <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>What have women got to be angry about? A lot, according to writer and critic Soraya Chemaly who talks about her new book Rage Becomes Her.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/SN1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Soraya Chemaly. "><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/SN1.png" alt="Soraya Chemaly. " title="Soraya Chemaly. " width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Soraya Chemaly. Photo: Karen Sayre. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>“What was striking for me was that people kept suggesting anger is irrational,” the US-based writer and critic Soraya Chemaly tells me down the phone during her recent trip to the UK. “That makes no sense. Anger is deeply rational response. It’s a warning. Anger is the language of justice and fairness.”</p><p dir="ltr">Chemaly’s new book, <a href="http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Rage-Becomes-Her/Soraya-Chemaly/9781501189555">Rage Becomes Her, </a>is a rousing battle cry in defence of women’s anger. In the forensic and well-evidenced study, Chemaly explores the inequalities that women face from birth to death, and how they make us furious.</p><p dir="ltr">The book covers issues from body image and pornography, reductive gender stereotypes, unpaid domestic labour, childbirth, workplace discrimination, and male violence. Chemaly reveals how women’s unequal status in the world is making us angry, how repressed anger is making us sick – and how it’s time for women’s justifiable anger to be taken seriously.</p><p dir="ltr">“I’ve written about the issues in the book for many years,” Chemaly explains, referring to a long career writing about feminism for TIME, Rolling Stone, The Nation, The New Statesman and elsewhere, as well as her role as director of the <a href="https://www.womensmediacenter.com/">Women’s Media Center</a> in Washington DC. “But then the 2016 US election happened."</p><p dir="ltr">Women had warned about the coming of a sexist, racist and authoritarian leader like Donald Trump, she said, but their warnings had been dismissed and ignored. "I’d watched for a long time as women, feminist activists, women acting in social justice kept warning about what was happening," she says, referring to the veer to the right.</p><p dir="ltr">Chemaly believes that Trump’s election in 2016 came as a surprise to some because "there was an ignorance about this in the mainstream media that stemmed from a denial of the legitimacy of what women were saying." She includes the anger of women who voted for Trump in this.</p><p dir="ltr">This denial came from the fact that women warning against mainstream misogyny were seen as "emotional" and "irrational" – and, she adds, "ironically of course we end up with this clown car of people in the White House, being driven by a person who seems to have almost no rationality."</p><p dir="ltr">"That’s why I wrote the book," she continues. "I wanted to ask: what is the problem we have in society about legitimising what women are saying. Because if we had listened to those women’s warnings in the first place, we would not be in this current situation."</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“If we had listened to women, we would not be in this current situation."</p><p>“What’s interesting to me is how gendered the word “emotional” is,” Chemaly tells me. “It’s a dismissive term for women. Emotional, hormonal… it’s just wrong.”</p><p dir="ltr">"Like so much sexism,” she continues, “it’s literally just stupid."</p><p dir="ltr">Her books opens by looking at how girls’ emotions are policed from childhood, with a focus on Western women. Chemaly writes that "anger remains the emotion that is least acceptable for girls and women because it is the first defense against injustice."</p><p dir="ltr">"What’s important to understand is by so thoroughly separating and detaching this powerful emotion from the notion of femininity," she tells me, "we take away from girls and women the ability to defend themselves and to assert their rights."</p><p dir="ltr">Chemaly looks at the anger women feel about pornography and how the ubiquitous presence of the sex industry in society leads to women exhibiting what she describes as "higher rates of self-objectification, as well as body and sexual dissatisfaction. Women and girls are not supposed to be angry about pornography and its impacts, but women, when asked, report feeling anger about porn."</p><p dir="ltr">I ask Chemaly to expand on this point. "I’m all for good, ethical porn," she says. "But pretending that [pornography] doesn’t exist in the context of profound racism and misogyny is really unhelpful. The research shows that women get angry about pornography because it has an impact on their intimate lives. And yet we are not supposed to talk about any of that, and instead let men have their kicks."</p><p dir="ltr">"In order to express anger, you have to trust that the person you are in a relationship with is going to respect you enough not to mock or dismiss you," she continues. "Women don’t have that level of trust in a lot of their relationships and they worry they will be rejected if they express what is important to them."</p><p dir="ltr">This is something I have encountered when speaking to women survivors of violent relationships – where expressing any kind of negative emotion, let alone anger, is punished by violence. That’s the extreme end, but Chemaly is right that for too many women, "your intimacy precludes your honesty."</p><p dir="ltr">Chemaly believes that the silencing of women’s anger, be it about porn, unequal distribution of domestic labour, or male violence, is making us sick.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Chemaly believes that the silencing of women’s anger, be it about porn, unequal distribution of domestic labour, or male violence, is making us sick. </p><p>She writes that "an inability to articulate anger is recognised as a significant component of both depression and anxiety", which women and girls suffer at higher rates than boys and men.</p><p>But it’s not just a question of mental health. Being prevented from expressing our anger is making women physically unwell, too.</p><p>"Repressed anger affects our cardiovascular system, it affects our mental state, our hormonal endocrine systems," Chemaly insists over the phone. "Understanding how our emotional and physical lives relate to one another is really important."</p><p dir="ltr">The data Chemaly presents in defence of this argument is persuasive, writing how "repressed anger… now considered a risk factor for a panoply of other ailments" including "disabling and painful autoimmune illnesses" such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, which women are three times more likely to experience than men.</p><p dir="ltr">She writes that "certain cancers, particularly breast cancer… have been linked to what researchers describe as ‘extreme suppression of anger’."</p><p dir="ltr">Her book is quick to point out that "anger does not cause these illnesses, but studies repeatedly suggest, and in some cases confirm, that its mismanagement is implicated in their incidence and prevalence among women."</p><p dir="ltr">Chemaly also looks at racial stereotypes to reveal how our attitudes to women’s rage change depending who is expressing that anger.</p><p dir="ltr">"It’s very important to acknowledge that there’s no “one size fits all” when you talk about the category of women," she tells me, explaining how our anger is received in ways that are “completely contextual and socially constructed.”</p><p dir="ltr">“There’s an angry black woman stereotype, the crazy white woman stereotype, and the sad or passive Asian woman stereotype," she continues, adding as an example: "a black woman doesn’t have to be angry to be called an angry black woman… She just needs to get up in the morning."</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“A black woman doesn’t have to be angry to be called an angry black woman… She just needs to get up in the morning."</p><p>Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot to be angry about in a book about women’s anger.</p><p>It’s impossible to read about the statistics on women’s mental and physical health, the gender imbalance in everything from domestic labour to medical research, and the horrors of endemic male violence, without feeling that very burning rage at injustice which women are punished for expressing.</p><p dir="ltr">But knowing why we are angry can be an effective catalyst for change.</p><p dir="ltr">"In the anger there is knowledge, and in the knowledge there is anger," Chemaly tells me. "They construct each other and you need respect for one to have respect for the other. So long as women are not respected as authorities in their culture, their anger will not be respected."</p><p dir="ltr">Chemaly is determined to "find the good things" in our current political situation, such as <a href="http://time.com/5107499/record-number-of-women-are-running-for-office/">record numbers of women running for office</a> in the upcoming midterm elections. But "the real core problem is how sustainable" this new burst of activism is.</p><p dir="ltr">"The conclusion I personally have come to," she tells me, "is that the immense creativity of women is something we need to focus on. How can that creativity include politics, religion and the spaces that are currently thought of as men’s spaces?"</p><p dir="ltr">"It’s possible to consciously think about transformative uses of anger," she concludes. "Instead of letting anger control you, you can transform it."</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* Rage Becomes Her, by Soraya Chemaly, was published 20 September 2018 by Simon Schuster. </em></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> Ideas </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 United States Equality Ideas International politics World Forum for Democracy 2018 Sian Norris Mon, 01 Oct 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Sian Norris 119799 at https://www.opendemocracy.net #MeToo in Japan: 'I was told not to bring shame on the country, with my story’ https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aya-takeuchi/i-was-told-not-to-bring-shame-on-japan <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Journalist Shiori Ito spoke about her own experience of sexual assault in 2017 – a year marked by allegations against powerful men. Then came the backlash.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/MeToo_NoffarGat13 Shiori Ito.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Shiori Ito."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/MeToo_NoffarGat13 Shiori Ito.jpg" alt="Shiori Ito." title="Shiori Ito." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Shiori Ito. Photo: Noffar Gat/www.noffargat.com. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>“I was told not to bring shame on Japan, by spreading this story,” said freelance journalist <a href="https://www.shioriito.com/welcome">Shiori Ito</a>, at <a href="http://jwb-ny.org/lecturemeeting_0315/">a meeting</a> in New York City on the sidelines of the recent United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) talks.</p><p dir="ltr">In May 2017, Ito alleged publicly that she had been <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlYWkciXUrA">raped by a well-known television journalist</a> two years earlier. She has spoken about her experience several times since, including in a book, ‘<a href="https://www.amazon.co.jp/Black-Box-%E4%BC%8A%E8%97%A4-%E8%A9%A9%E7%B9%94/dp/4163907823">Black Box</a>,’ (currently available only in Japanese).</p><p dir="ltr">Speaking out about sexual violence is not something that is frequently done in Japan, even in the age of #MeToo movements globally. “I face a lot of backlash,” Ito told me, “but this is something I have to share.”</p><p dir="ltr">In stepping forward with her story, Ito has been credited with opening space for profoundly difficult conversations about sexual assault in Japan, which remains deeply conservative socially and has a significant<a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-gender-gap-report-2017"> gender gaps in spite of its overall wealth</a>.</p><p>“She broke Japan’s silence on rape,” <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/29/world/asia/japan-rape.html">said the New York Times</a>. Tokyo Weekender, an English-language magazine, called Ito “<a href="https://www.tokyoweekender.com/2018/02/shiori-ito-face-metoo-movement-japan-speaks/">the face of the #MeToo movement in Japan</a>” and “one of the few brave voices to speak out” from the country.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/MeToo_NoffarGat16.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Copies of Shiori Ito&#039;s book."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/MeToo_NoffarGat16.jpg" alt="Copies of Shiori Ito's book." title="Copies of Shiori Ito&#039;s book." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Copies of Shiori Ito's book. Photo: Noffar Gat/www.noffargat.com. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Ito says that she was sexually assaulted in a Tokyo hotel room by a well-known journalist with whom she met for dinner to talk about job opportunities. (He has publicly denied these allegations).</p><p dir="ltr">She is one of a small number of Japanese women who spoke out publicly about their experiences of sexual assault in 2017, a year which saw a global wave of allegations against powerful men in media, entertainment and politics.</p><p dir="ltr">Journalist Akiko Kobayashi<a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/jp/akikokobayashi/darenimoiwanakatta?utm_term=.oukwaBzo7#.js2A5MQLg"> at Buzzfeed</a> told her story of child sexual abuse. Blogger Haruka Ito (known as Hachu) <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/jp/takumiharimaya/hachu-metoo?utm_term=.fuJ2ggoak#.ob7ZxxnyR">talked</a> about her experience with sexual harassment.</p><p dir="ltr">Ito talks about her experience with perhaps surprising openness. Though, she said in New York: “I have been introduced as a first ‘silence breaker,’ but it is not true. There have already been so many women who spoke up... Society had concealed the truth.”</p><p>Nearly <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/02/japan-women-sexually-harassed-at-work-report-finds">1 in 3 Japanese</a> women have been sexually harassed at work, according to a 2016 government survey. But women who speak out against such abuse are often blamed for ‘putting themselves’ in risky situations.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“I was vilified on social media and received hate messages and emails and calls from unknown numbers.”</p><p dir="ltr">In January, <a href="https://www.politico.eu/author/shiori-ito/">Ito wrote on Politico.eu:</a> “I was vilified on social media and received hate messages and emails and calls from unknown numbers. I was called a ‘slut’ and ‘prostitute’ and told I should ‘be dead.’ There were arguments over my nationality, because a true Japanese woman wouldn’t speak about such ‘shameful’ things.”</p><p dir="ltr">Eleven percent of Japanese men who responded to a <a href="https://infogram.com/--1gqo2qvyl4ywp78">2017 poll by the national broadcaster NHK</a> said that a woman who goes for dinner alone with a man is providing “sexual consent.” 27% considered a woman having a drink alone with a man to be providing such consent; 23% if she is wearing ‘revealing clothes; 35% if she is drunk.</p><p dir="ltr">There is an alarming tendency in Japan to minimise sex crimes by avoiding words such as rape altogether and referring to ‘mischief’ instead. Coerced sex without the use or threat of violence is not considered rape. The age of consent is only 13.</p><p dir="ltr">In her case, Ito says she went to the police who she said told her that these incidents are common but prosecutions rarely succeed. She says investigators later dropped her case despite having enough evidence to go forward.</p><p dir="ltr">In her <a href="https://www.politico.eu/author/shiori-ito/">article for Politico</a>, Ito says the title of her book ‘Black Box,’ “comes from the term prosecutors and police officers used to describe how rape happens behind closed doors. They kept saying: ‘We still don’t really know what happened; only you two know.’”</p><p>In December 2017, the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/29/world/asia/japan-rape.html">New York Times</a> said: “Ito’s story is a stark example of how sexual assault remains a subject to be avoided in Japan, where few women report rape to the police and when they do, their complaints rarely result in arrests or prosecution.”</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 17.04.39.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Yuko Watanabe."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 17.04.39.png" alt="Yuko Watanabe." title="Yuko Watanabe." width="460" height="275" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Yuko Watanabe. Photo: Noffar Gat/www.noffargat.com. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Thousands of women from around the world gathered in New York during the CSW meetings, which ended on Friday 23 March.</p><p dir="ltr">Ito spoke at an event titled “<a href="http://hrn.or.jp/eng/news/2018/02/14/4336/">Beyond the #MeToo movement: protecting silence breakers and changing social norms</a>”; she also gave <a href="http://jwb-ny.org/lecturemeeting_0315/">a talk</a> at the Japanese-American Association &nbsp;Women in Business group, in Japanese.</p><p dir="ltr">Lawyer Chris Brennan also spoke at the first meeting. He has worked on several sexual assault cases in the US. Where perpetrators are colleagues or employers, they may use their status to silence or threaten victims into quitting their jobs, he said.</p><p dir="ltr">At the JAA event Kazuka Ito, also a lawyer and the founder of Human Rights Now, said: “We are not supposed to be the ones who are blamed, the one who harassed must be blamed. But this is how it works in Japan, still.”</p><p dir="ltr">From the corporate world, a former director at the Eurasia Group consultancy firm Yuko Watanabe added that in Japan, human resources systems are not set up to respond to reports of incidents like this. </p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Japan’s sex crime laws were only recently amended for the first time in 110 years. </p><p dir="ltr">Japanese law is not a great help to survivors of sexually assault, either. <a href="http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/16/national/politics-diplomacy/diet-makes-historic-revision-century-old-sex-crime-laws/#.WXGuvdOGM_U">Japan’s sex crime laws</a> were only recently amended for the first time in 110 years.</p><p dir="ltr">The definition of rape was expanded to include oral and anal sex. Minimum sentences for rape were increased, but only from three years to five. <a href="https://www.npa.go.jp/laws/notification/keiji/keiki/keiki-290623/keiki-290623keihou.pdf">Conviction rates remain low</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Shiori Ito said at the JAA meeting that women who have experienced assault or harassment need more resources, criticising ‘outdated’ investigation methods on behalf of police and a lack of sufficient crisis services for women even around Tokyo.</p><p dir="ltr">Investigators may not have much experience working on these cases, she added, and may not respond appropriately to the psychological impacts of such crimes or the investigation process, in which victims may be asked repeatedly to remember and describe in detail the assault.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/MeToo_NoffarGat1_Kumiko Hasegawa.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="A meeting at the UN CSW in New York City."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/MeToo_NoffarGat1_Kumiko Hasegawa.jpg" alt="A meeting at the UN CSW in New York City." title="A meeting at the UN CSW in New York City." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A meeting at the UN CSW in New York City. Photo: Noffar Gat/www.noffargat.com. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>At the JAA Women in Business group, Kumiko Hasegawa recalled an old Japanese saying: “<em>Iyayo iyayo mo sukinouchi</em>.”</p><p dir="ltr">This means that even though women say “no,” “no” is "yes" just reversed. While this damaging idea is not unique to Japan, it contributes to violence against women by encouraging men to ‘push past’ resistance.</p><p dir="ltr">Amid <a href="http://www8.cao.go.jp/shoushi/shoushika/whitepaper/measures/w-2017/29webgaiyoh/html/gb1_s1-1.html">negative population growth</a>, Japan is <a href="https://www.kantei.go.jp/jp/headline/josei_link.html">trying to increase women’s participation</a> in the labour force. The government must urgently address sexual harassment at work much more seriously.</p><p dir="ltr">This is a social rather than an individual problem, according to Ito, who talked about her campaign <a href="https://twitter.com/WeToo_Japan">#WeToo</a> to highlight how sexual abuse and harassment affects everyone’s lives in some way.</p><p dir="ltr">But for this campaign to be successful in Japan, many more women will have to come forward to expose the extent of this problem – and this won’t be easy. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/claire-provost-aicha-hanna-agrane/migrant-farmworkers-protest-sexual-violence">Migrant farmworkers protest in New York City against sexual violence</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Japan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Japan Culture Equality World Forum for Democracy 2018 Women's rights and the media women's movements women and power violence against women Sexual violence gender 50.50 newsletter women's work young feminists Aya Takeuchi Wed, 28 Mar 2018 07:03:17 +0000 Aya Takeuchi 116824 at https://www.opendemocracy.net