Women’s groups call for sexism inquiry

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A COALITION of women’s groups has called on the Leveson inquiry to widen its scope and carry out an investigation into sexism and the negative portrayal of women in the British media.

End Violence Against Women (EVAW), Equality Now, Object, and the rape charity Eaves said the inquiry will “not be doing its job properly” if it does not tackle issues surrounding the sexual objectification and damaging representation of women in the Press.

Jacqui Hunt, director of Equality Now, said: “Leveson is not just charged with looking at phone hacking but for the entire relationship between the Press and the public.

“Women make up 50 per cent of that public but too often in the tabloid press are portrayed as sexualised objects or victims who are somehow to blame for the violence committed against them.

“When older women are pushed out of the media, when they are not used as expert commentators, when women are not seen as equal partners – this has a negative effect all the way through society.”

The four groups have sent detailed submissions to the inquiry’s Lord Justice Leveson in which they argue that abuse and violence against women is often trivialised by newspapers.

They also say the sexualisation of women is degrading and fosters negative attitudes and argue that reporting of rape often focuses on the victims rather than the culprit.

The charities want mandatory training for journalists on the law over the reporting of violence against women and “clear sanctions” for journalists found to break it.

They have also called for the Press Complaints Commission to be replaced by an independent Press complaints regulatory system.