WECAMS is a coalition of three European women’s organisations set up with the specific aim of bringing an end to sexism in the media and advertising: DonneinQuota in Italy, Object in the U.K. and Les Chiennes de garde in France. All three groups have campaigned against sexist, objectifying and dehumanising representations of women in their own countries.
It is long established that the frequent and unrelenting portrayal of women as sexual objects plays a key role in maintaining gender inequality. The United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) committee has repeatedly called on governments to take action against the stereotyping of women, arguing that such representations contribute to women’s disadvantaged position in a number of areas including in the labour market and in access to decision-making positions, and affect women¹s choices in their studies and professions.
The European Parliament has also voted in favour of several gender equality resolutions, including the adoption of a report which calls on both advertisers to stop using sexist stereotypes and member states to monitor how gender is portrayed in advertising. Sexual objectification has a negative impact on both the aspirations and self esteem of women and girls and promotes attitudes and behaviours associated with discrimination and violence against women. However, in Italy, the UK and France there is no specific law regarding the portrayal of women in the media or advertising. We have therefore established this coalition to work together in tackling sexist representations of women at a European level and, in doing so, encourage our own governments to take decisive action.