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Does Gender Inequality Still Exist?

A look at current and past issues surrounding sexism.

Does Gender Inequality Still Exist?

Sexism

Gulce Ozkan

W!ZARD News Author

Just the other day, a train operator was forced to remove an advert from 70 sites after it sparked complaints from two Labour politicians. The poster read: “Good for sitting, squeezing, and shaking, don’t bruise it...” accompanied by the image of a women’s firm looking derriere alongside it. Were the complaints an overreaction? Where do you draw the line?

MP Theresa Bruce justified her complaint by explaining how women face sexual abuse and harassment every day on public transport, which probably hit home for a large number of women who have experienced these sorts of situations on a daily basis.

Every 107 seconds, another American is sexually assaulted. Now the advert incident took place in England, but it doesn’t hurt to take a look at some international statistics. A United Nations statistical report compiled from government sources showed that more than 250,000 cases of rape or attempted rape were recorded by police annually.

The reported data covered 65 countries. We need to of course, take into account that (according to Washington Post) only around 32 per cent of rapes are actually reported to the police, and it is easy to understand why. The attitude of the police in many countries prevent many women from reporting rape, and some victims even feel guilt concerning the whole event.

Even in the safety of our relatively secure country, sexual harassment, or even just insinuations of it, are hard to avoid. If you’re lucky enough to walk past a group of builders while wearing a flattering outfit and NOT receive a wolf whistle thrust your way, it is near impossible to avoid a glance. A LONG, lingering glance. Innuendos are everywhere, no matter what situation you are in.

Not too long ago, when the 23 year old Poppy Smart reported recurring incidents of harassment from local builders, there was national focus on the fact she was childless and unmarried, and images from her social media sites were obtained, showing selfies of her wearing a low cut top.

I myself had a look at a 2015 Daily Mail article on this particular incident and the comments were absolutely appalling, ranging from “as if the police investigated!! What a waste of taxpayer’s money!” to “Women want our attention but then cry wolf when they get it!” Not surprising really, but still upsetting.

The irony is that these people would most likely be outraged if their own precious family members were subject to the kind of harassment Smart had to go through. The incident was a catalyst for the issue to be debated on talk shows such as ‘The Wright Stuff’ and (predictably) ‘Loose Women’, and discussions were held on whether an action so seemingly harmless, such as wolf-whistling, should be reported to the authorities.

Now some women truly don’t mind being catcalled at all, and often take it as a compliment, me being one of them (not that it happens often). But reactions differ drastically from person to person, it is hard to draw the line, and once the line is crossed, it is easy for women to feel threatened, intimidated and at risk.

We, as women, are objectified and we know it. We’ve subconsciously known it since we were tiny little children, watching our beloved Disney movies in our pink bedrooms, watching with admiration as the beautiful, clueless, vulnerable princess was, without fail, portrayed as a prize for the logical, reasonable, strong Prince.

Big steps will have to be taken for our society to change, and truly reflect ideas of true gender equality; but in the meantime, no-one should have to walk the streets of their own country in a state of continuous, sub-conscious dread.

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