Speak Out on Sexism

I’m delighted to be compering this event at Brighton’s Sallis Benney Theatre on 5th December.

Hosted by the fledgling network Brighton Women’s Voices, Speak Out on Sexism will highlight the links between media sexism and attitudes that underpin violence and discrimination against women and girls; and will support women in speaking out.

There are few things more important than ensuring that every member of our community feels safe in their own home, in their workplace, community and school.

Sadly, for far too many women and girls in the UK this is simply not the case – and there is strong evidence that media sexism is playing a significant contributory role.

To be clear, when a woman is raped, attacked, abused or hit, the perpetrator of that crime is completely to blame.

Aggression towards women doesn’t happen in a vacuum though and we have to recognise that women’s objectification by the media plays a very influential role.

Women have been degraded, belittled and served up as sex objects in the media for many years, despite the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) repeatedly identifying the links between the portrayal of women as sexual objects with attitudes that underpin violence and discrimination against women and girls.

A Government-commissioned Sexualisation of Young People Review found there is evidence that suggests a clear link between consumption of sexualised images, a tendency to view women as objects and the acceptance of aggressive attitudes and behaviour as the norm.

And the American Psychological Association (APA) reports that viewing media which portrays women as sex objects leads people to become significantly more accepting of gender stereotyping, sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, and rape myths.

That's why I am pleased that there’s such a fantastic line-up of speakers and performers at Speak out on Sexism.

Doors open at 7pm and there’s already a lot of interest in the event so do arrive early to be assured of a seat – I look forward to seeing you there!

Melissa Benn is a writer, journalist and campaigner who recently published “What should we tell our daughters? The pleasures and pressures of growing up female”, a discussion of young women’s lives today.

Lucy-Anne Holmes is the founder of No More Page 3, which is challenging images of women in the media.

The Twitter Feminist Youth Army is group of young people who are passionate about feminism and equality ranging in age from 9-65.

Brighton Women’s Voices is a network that’s just being set up in the city.

End Violence Against Women is a national coalition of individuals and organisations calling on government, public bodies and others to take concerted action to end violence against women.

Imkaan is a UK-based, black feminist organisation dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls.

For Our Daughters works to end sexist homicide and violence against women – and to commemorate those who have died.

Sophie Pointer is a feminist who sings with Call Me Jolene.

Kate Smurthwaite is a comedian and political activist. She has appeared on hundreds of TV and radio shows and this year won a Three Weeks Editor's Choice Award for her solo show "The News At Kate: My Professional Opinion" at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Sabrina Mahfouz is an artist, writer and poet, whose work includes a No More Page 3 poem.

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