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Council of Europe adopts first-ever international legal instrument to stop sexism

Committee of Ministers Strasbourg 28 March 2019
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Council of Europe adopts first-ever international legal instrument to stop sexism

States should step up their fight against sexism in all walks of life, according to a Recommendation just adopted by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.

In response to the #MeToo and other recent movements that have heightened awareness of persistent sexism in society, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted a recommendation to stop sexism, which includes the first ever internationally agreed definition of it.

The recommendation stresses that sexism is a manifestation of “historically unequal power relations” between women and men, which leads to discrimination and prevents the full advancement of women in society.

Because it is “widespread and prevalent in all sectors and all societies, and (…) sexism and sexist behaviour are rooted in and reinforce gender stereotypes,” sexism is defined for the first time ever in a dedicated legal instrument to tackle it, via a comprehensive list of measures and areas where sexism occurs, from advertising and media, to employment, the justice sector, education and sport. The text in particular aims to shed light on what sexist behaviour is and proposes concrete ways for different actors to identify and address them.

It requests that member states monitor progress in implementing its guidelines and to inform the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Commission of measures taken and progress achieved.


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