Council of Europe: Resolution on Combating Sexism
Monday, April 1, 2019 1:55 PM

Last week, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers adopted a resolution that defines and condemns sexism in all forms. This is the first international measure related to ending sexism. In the resolution, sexism is defined as:

Any act, gesture, visual representation, spoken or written words, practice or behaviour based upon the idea that a person or a group of persons is inferior because of their sex, which occurs in the public or private sphere, whether online or offline, with the purpose or effect of:

  1. violating the inherent dignity or rights of a person or a group of persons; or
  2. resulting in physical, sexual, psychological or socio-economic harm or suffering to a person or a group of persons; or
  3. creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; or
  4. constituting a barrier to the autonomy and full realisation of human rights by a person or a group of persons;
  5. maintaining and reinforcing gender stereotypes.

The text enumerates multiple legal measures member states can take to combat the problem and lists many areas of society in which sexist behaviors permeate. It notes that because both women and men can be harmed by sexism, everyone has a vested interest in preventing sexist behaviors and reforming sexist policies. The resolution calls on public figures to utilize their position in society to condemn sexism and therefore raise awareness of the issue. Moreover, it calls for the utilization of non-masculine language and modern technology in order to create a movement that is both sensitive and effective in the modern age.

Compiled from: Press Release - Council of Europe adopts first ever international legal instrument to stop sexism, Council of Europe; Recommendation CM/Rec(2019)1 of the Committee of Ministers to member States on preventing and combating sexism, Committee of Ministers, Council of Europe.