Before the #Me Too movement really took off, UK writer and activist Laura Bates started the Everyday Sexism Project in 2012. It began as a website www.everydaysexism.com where people could share their experiences of sexism. On the website, she invites all to share their stories. She states on the site that these instances “might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalized that you don’t even feel able to protest.” And “By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss”. There are over 100,000 testimonies and branches of the project in 25 countries worldwide.
There is an updated 2016 version of the 2014 book which is divided into chapters such as Women in Politics, Women in Public Spaces, Girls, Motherhood etc. She gives some of the statistics that many are already aware of regarding gender inequities, but the power of the book is in the multiple stories that are told by women and girls (including lesbians, bisexual, transgendered and other self identified folk) of things that happen on a day to day basis. The chapter on Girls was extremely powerful and at times heartbreaking, as the effects of media, social media, the internet, and popular culture are shown to have such potent effect on both girls and boys.
Here is an excerpt from the Women in Politics chapter:
“The House of Commons, London. The Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow steps into an elevator with a female colleague. Suddenly they are confronted by a Conservative MP demanding to know what they’re doing there. Obviously, he says, they must be unable to read, “because this is a lift for MPs or disabled people and you’re clearly neither.” When the young blond woman informs him that she is indeed an MP, as well as a woman, he remains incredulous enough to demand to see her Commons pass as proof. This was 2011, and one of Stella Creasy’s early experiences of Westminster.”