Equality Now and its partners, Eaves, the End Violence Against Women Coalition and Object, gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry in the UK on 24 January 2012 on the stereotyping, objectification and sexualisation of women in the media and the inaccurate, prejudicial and biased reporting of violence against women. 

We made the following call:

  • The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) should be replaced by a stronger body which will hear complaints from groups as well as individuals; has powers to investigate on its own authority as well as acting on complaints; is independent of the press and has representatives of equality groups on it; of which membership is compulsory; and which can impose strong sanctions when complaints are upheld, including perhaps fines.
  • Gender equality and issues related to discrimination on the basis of sex should be key and distinct components of any new codes of practice for the print based media and women’s groups should be consulted in drawing up the code to ensure these elements are appropriately captured.
  • This new and independent body should carry out ongoing monitoring of patterns of discrimination.
  • Journalists should receive training on the myths and realities of violence against women and how to treat victims as well as on issues concerning gender stereotyping and the harms associated with sexualisation and objectification.
  • A new code of practice should be developed for the way ‘case studies’ are dealt with by the media.
  • Regulation of printed materials should be consistent with other forms of media regulation so that if sexually objectifying material would not pass pre-watershed restrictions on the television it should not be printed in unrestricted newspapers.
  • Schools should be required to tackle gender inequality and gender stereotypes and deliver media literacy classes.

To read the submissions of each group, please click here: Equality Now, Eaves, End Violence Against Women Coalition, Object.

To add your voice in support, please email:

  • the Leveson Inquiry (generalenquiries@levesoninquiry.org.uk) with your concerns on the portrayal of women in the media
  • the Chair of the PCC, Lord Hunt (kim.baxter@pcc.org.uk), to ask him to ensure that discrimination against women in the press, including through stereotyping, objectification and inaccurate and biased reporting of violence, is centrally addressed in any new code, including any proposals submitted to the Leveson Inquiry

London Office Director Jacqui Hunt, interviewed by the Coordinating Committee for Media Reform, on Leveson Inquiry and media representation of women: