It’s been over half a decade since the #MeToo movement began making waves and three years since flexible working simplified keeping a career postpartum. So why are we still campaigning for gender equality?

Simply put, in spite of appearances, there has been little change.

Online movements denouncing the, often sexual, abuse of women and girls have become driving forces in the fight to be heard but, as our own #CrimeNotAComplement initiative demonstrates, being heard does not necessarily equate to being listened to.

    Being unable to act without suffering is something women around the world are all too familiar with, no matter how they conform to patriarchy.

Statistics released by Charlie Health show the opposite, with the majority of victims having previously met their aggressor, and these aggressors being substantially unlikely to face any legal repercussions. For the less than ten percent of aggressors which do face legal repercussions, the survivors they leave in their wakes report dismissal, purposely avoiding public spaces, and self-blame. As documented as this reality is, glancing at certain headlines would have you easily convinced of the opposite-an alleged ‘woke world gone mad’ where men are terrified to do so much as move.

Take the workplace for example: recent investigations published in the Harvard Business Review detail presumptions of “too much family responsibility and impending menopause” towards any woman of middle-age, whilst Laura Bates ‘Everyday Sexism’ recounts instances of career debutantes being denied career progression by reason of an ability to bare children in years to come. Judged on everything but personal merit, such discrimination seems insurmountable. Without a commitment to community-based change, it may well be.

Community-based change is indispensable in the fight against gender-based discrimination because everybody experiences sexism differently. For a programme participant in the USA, community-based change could resemble initiatives to combat the uptake in online misogyny; for a programme participant located in Guinea, that same change could take the form of supporting continued education.

Although differing in many respects, all local issues present potentially life-altering consequences for those who experience them – reminding us that sexism is not a simple abstract descriptor, but collections of behaviour that undermine the safety and integrity of those they impact.

We’re talking about sexism precisely because many others aren’t – and we want to invite you to join the conversation.

Admin Planindia

December 21 2023

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