EYE Review 2015 – Part 1: #EveryDay Direct Sex Discrimination

Sexism  prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.

Out of curiosity EYE decided to type ‘sexism 2015’ into a popular search engine and was presented with the following top 3 results…..

In reverse order we had an article highlighting 13 examples of everydaysexism (including gender specific advertising and telling someone that they look slim); an I100 piece dating all the way back to new years day about some absurdly sexist advice on how to keep your man (every now and then cook him a meal or massage his feet) and, surprise surprise, top of the intolerance totem was a mini almanac prepared by Mx #everydaysexism herself Laura Bates.


Laura looked at how women fared in 2015 and, unsurprisingly, found that it wasn’t pretty.  Lowlights included a patronizing tweet from the FA in the aftermath of the World Cup (or as EYElike to call it the Woman’s World Cup), women ruining Playstation FIFA for teenage boys, something incomprehensible and intersectional about multi millionaire sports icon Serrena Williams and the BBC apologizing to mums for letting Rita Ora let it all hang out on the One Show.


Personally I think that Laura should probably stop reading the Daily Mail so much and perhaps focus on more pressing matters such as the estimated 50,000 women who are said to face pregnancy and maternity discrimination annually or the fact that Saudi Woman couldn’t drive themselves to the segregated polling booths that they got to use for the first time this year (provided they’d asked permission first obviously).


As the picture (above) that accompanied the everydaysexism article ably demonstrates, ‘sexism’ can be a fairly subjective concept and, thankfully, looking in the general direction of a woman as she passes isn’t technically against the law.

While it may not apply to biased, opportunistic or hysterical headline grabbing journalists, in the interest of balance, fairness and (ahem) ‘equality’, the courts and industrial tribunals of the land are required to consider whether or not specific objective evidence can reasonably be considered to show that a person has experienced or committed sex discrimination.

Direct sex discrimination: Is when someone is treated differently and not as well as other people because of their sex.

In a year where air conditioning, clapping and ambition were deemed by some to be a bit ‘sexist’, it strikes me that Mx Bates has been so busy digging up increasingly diverse examples to postulate about in her weekly Guardian column (beer marketing anyone) that she’s completely missed this years most significant and obvious trend.

Because if we go by the slightly less subjective definition established under law it strikes me that there is plenty of evidence to suggest that 2015 is the year that #EveryDayDirectSexDiscrimination really started trending again…


Politicians tend to act like they own the country, so it’s hardly surprising that some of the most overt examples of this trend could be seen in the corridors in the corridors of power.  Nicola Sturgeon lead the way in late 2014 when she took over as Scotland’s First Minister and in 2015 the world’s second largest country followed suite when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled Canada’s first equally balanced cabinet consisting of 15 women and 15 men.


In between these two historical events Labour’s Jermy Corbyn failed to make the type of headlines he’d hoped for after following a similar direction of travel when picking his parliamentary shadow cabinet.  Despite making a tiny bit of history himself, by appointing more women (16) than men (15) to his team, he was roundly criticized by the usual suspects for not giving any of the ‘top’ jobs to anyone purely on the basis of their biology.


Such criticism seemed a bit harsh given that at least four of Labour’s most senior female MPs had publically ruled out serving in his cabinet before he even got his pen out.  Even so whether you think this 50:50 trend in ministerial selection practices is a good thing or otherwise, the fact of the matter is that it could only be achieved by adopting a course of action that is currently illegal both in UK and European law.

Mind you politician’s do often behave like there is  one rule for them and another for the rest of us which is why, in the interests of ‘equality of outcome’, as soon as the Labour Party were found guilty of direct sex discrimination for their ‘once only’ women only short-lists they simply shifted the goal posts as soon as Blair won the 1997 election.  Not for everyone obviously, just enough to make their own #EveryDayDirectSexDiscrimination practices exempt from them having to listen to the type of complaints that any other employer would immediately receive if they suddenly started behaving like some of our ‘democratically’ elected representatives.

A quick stroke of the pen provided political parties privileged protection from prosecution until 2030 at the very least and, given trends in other parts of Europe, it wouldn’t be surprising if the ‘exception’ is extended to allow 50:50 quotas to cut through the entire democratic process.


Personally EYE is not especially troubled by this possibility.  Hypothetically it’s at least possible that a compulsory injection of oestrogen might herald a new golden age of democracy but in my own experience (not to mention pregnant workers up and down the land) the new boss somehow always tends to turn out depressingly similar to the old boss.

Let’s face it the most significant thing that the first female (albeit acting) leader of the Labour Party did during her brief stint was to order MP’s not to vote against the Tory Govt’s sweeping welfare reform bill. A Bill which included changes so significant that one dissenting MP described as something close to eugenics, especially for working families.

Part 2: Sexist Sums


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