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The European campaign against sexism was relaunched in Portugal on the International Day of the Girl Child

The original Portuguese version of this article was published here

11 October 2021

The Council of Europe (CoE) campaign Sexism: See it. Name it. Stop it. aims at raising awareness about and to promote the implementation of the Recommendation of the Council of Europe Rec (2019)1: Preventing and combating sexism, by displaying the prevalence of sexism and its current manifestations and by pointing out ways of addressing this problem in different contexts and organizations.

The Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights (PpDM)joins this campaign through the European project Mobilize Against Sexism!. In the context of this project, PpDM has relaunched the CoE campaign on the 11th of October, the United Nations’ International Day of the Girl Child, which this year took place under the theme ’Digital Generation, Our Generation’.

Mobilize Against Sexism! is a project funded by the Council of Europe and coordinated by the Bulgarian Women’s Lobby. In addition to Portugal, where it is being implemented by PpDM, the organization that coordinates the activities of the European Women’s Lobby in Portugal (EWL), five other countries also joined: Croatia, Spain, the Netherlands, Hungary and Romania. The project focuses on the key ideas of the Council of Europe’s Recommendation, giving them wide dissemination through social media: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

In a context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and, consequently, by the accelerated use of digital platforms, sexism and violence have become particularly evident as part of the digital experience of girls and young women. At the same time, at the United Nations’ Generation Equality Forum, international commitments for 5-year action plans have been agreed upon, aiming at accelerating the achievement of equality between girls and boys, women and men, involving organized civil society, governments, companies and other change agents. This is therefore a key moment to drive the implementation of these commitments.

As Ana Sofia Fernandes, President of PpDM, has stressed: "More than half of the Portuguese population are women and girls. Every day we live in contexts marked by sexist discourses and practices, particularly amplified in the digital sphere. In 2021 we will join forces with various organizations and mobilize against sexism! Let’s work so that girls can live free from violence and free from fear of male violence in all their spaces of interaction, both online and offline. We start today on International Girl’s Day with the social media campaign Sexism: See it. Name it. Stop it. and together we say #StopSexism!".

Mobilize Against Sexism! also includes the national video contest I say no to sexism!, to which students enrolled in the 3rd cycle of primary and secondary education in public, private and professional schools can apply. This contest is a partnership with the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights and theCommission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG), with the support of the national Network of School LIbraries (RBE) and sponsored by Auchan Retail Portugal and Xerox. The project also includes the dissemination by SONAE MC of the video of the campaign Sexism: See it. Name it. Stop it. at all their CONTINENTE retail stores in the country.

Several other information, awareness raising, and training initiatives will take place until the end of the year, involving a wide range of central and local government agencies, women’s rights associations and municipalities.

The Council of Europe’s historic recommendation established, in 2019, the first international legal definition of sexism 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:

i. violating the inherent dignity or rights of a person or a group of persons; or

ii. resulting in physical, sexual, psychological or socio-economic harm or suffering to a person or a group of persons; or

iii. creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; or

iv. constituting a barrier to the autonomy and full realisation of human rights by a person or a group of persons; or

v. maintaining and reinforcing gender stereotypes.

On this International Day of the Girl Child, we recalled that in Portugal:

● 48% of women in ICT professions have taken to this sector because they are passionate about technology; [i]

● 10% of them are the only women in the departments where they work; [ii]

● 38% of women employed in ICT have felt that they earned less than their peers just because they were women; [iii]

● 46% have experienced discrimination in carrrer promotion processes; [iv]

● 78% of women have "heard comments and jokes or observed sexist or rude gestures in their workplace at least once." [v]

● In 2020, of all the individuals graduated in Science, Mathematics and Computer Science, 47% were women and 53% were men. [vi] Between 1994 and 2020 there was a decrease of 12 percentage points of women graduating in this field.

● In 2020, the rate of women specialists working in the field of Information and Communication Technologies was 21.8%. [vii]

● Currently, women account for less than two out of every 10 ICT professionals in Portugal: their proportion in this group decreased from 17.1% in 2005 to 14.7% in 2018 (Eurostat), and only about 0.2% of Portuguese adolescent girls aspire to work in these areas (European Institute for Gender Equality). [viii]

● From 2019 to 2020, the Portuguese Association for Victim Support (APAV) recorded a 40% increase in online violence and, in the first half of 2021 alone, the number of cases was close to previous year’s total: 1,138 requests for help, compared to 1,164 during all 2020. More than 60% were women. [ix]

● Between 2016-2020, APAV supported 1,599 children and young people victims of sexual violence, an average of 365 monthly contacts; 80% were girls. [x]

● In 2021, the number of women elected mayors decreased: from 32 to 29 (accounting for only 9% of all elected mayors). And this was the first time that the Parity Law was applied to election lists at all levels: municipalities, municipal assemblies and parish assemblies. [xi]

[i] Portuguese Women in Tech (2019)Pioneers: a portrait of Portuguese women in tech.
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Ibid.
[v] Ibid. [vi] DGEEC/MCTES, Pordata.
[vii] CIG (2021) Gender equlity and digital transition in Portugal
[viii] Announcement of the Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality (20/04/2020)
[ix] Rádio Renascença (28.06.2021)
[x] APAV
[xi] Público (27.09.2021)

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