For the past couple of years, feminist writer Laura Bates has visited my school as to give a talk to the senior student body about everyday sexism, which is also the title of her 2014 book, Everyday Sexism and her website,


The Everyday Sexism Project, as the name suggests, is a website where people can share their experiences of sexism. Bates started it in 2012, after talking to other women in her life about their own struggles with sexism.


The UK’s relationship with sexism complicated. As Bates said to the audience, many people truly believe that we have moved past it. Many well meaning people (men, women and everything in between) honestly believe that how could such a civilised society, a country so developed, possibly have room for notion as something as outdated as sexism? Despite the strides the UK has made towards gender equality, there is still progress to be made.


Bates pointed out that often when women try to speak up about their experiences with misogyny, they are often told that they are overreacting. The frank truth is, misogyny isn’t restricted to a violent murder of a woman on the news. Rather, that death is the result of a society that has not addressed the causal everyday sexism that it is built upon that thrive and fester into something much more malicious. For every twenty ‘women belong in the kitchen’ jokes, there is a percentage who are likely to believe it.


Bates also spoke about how sexism effects men, pointing out how men have a much higher chance of committing suicide. Men are taught phrases such as ‘boys don’t cry’ which repress their emotions. This rhetoric is has the potential to snowball into the repression of emotion, which leads to men not getting the help they need when faced mental health challenges. To an audience that was fifty percent teenage boys, this sort of clarification is important. It is surprising how little men are taught/know about sexism, with it often being resined to as issue only facing women. By teaching boys and men about sexism, it allows them to recognise it in their day to day lives and educate others.


It’s almost comforting to pretend that sexist people live on the fringes of our society, too busy typing out comments on Andrew Tate’s content in their mothers spare room to ever effect us. But is it only that; pretend. Speakers such as Laura Bates allow for the conversation about everyday sexism to start young, and to recognise harmful behaviours before they escalate.