The True Scale of Sexism: Laura Bates delivers the fifth 2018 Coleridge Lecture, revealing the true scale of discrimination and prejudice women face and making a passionate argument for allowing ourselves to see the bigger picture.

Laura Bates

This blog provides links to background material for this event, which takes place on 1 May 2018.

Book Reviews

Evening Standard: Misogynation: The True Scale of Sexism by Laura Bates – review – Joanna Williams 17 February 2018

… women’s successes are inconvenient facts in Bates’s narrative of patriarchal oppression… Challenging the feminist narrative of doom is neither sexist what-aboutery nor a rictus-grinned effort to always look on the bright side of life. It’s far more important than that.

The Guardian: Girl Up by Laura Bates; Man Up by Rebecca Asher – review – Barbara Ellen 2 May 2016

In the main, Girl Up proves effective at communicating a central idea that is at once very simple and incredibly complicated: far from being weak, fluffy creatures, young women are strong and powerful.

The Guardian: Girl Up by Laura Bates review – feminism shouldn’t be so nice – Helen Lewis 20 April 2016

This book is not a memoir or a confessional… but nonetheless it feels infused with the warmth of her personality. Watching feminist debates over the last five years has often felt like being a spectator at the Colosseum… Somehow, though, Bates has floated above all the rancour and the hurt feelings and the accusations of privilege and the microbeef. I can’t think of anyone with a bad word to say about her.

The Guardian: Everyday Sexism and The Vagenda – review – Zoe Williams 24 April 2014

Bates has created something new: neither journalism nor polemic, the book owes its gusto to a combination of the hundreds of voices in it, and the fact that the author presents them, not as a statistical sample, weighted for age and class, not as a type, not as her friends, but as credible, compelling voices.

The Independent: Book review: Everyday Sexism By Laura Bates – Fiona Sturges 16 April 2014

It’s with bubbling fury that she highlights the horrors of double-discrimination where sexism intermingles with other prejudices such as racism, homophobia and ageism.

Interviews with Laura Bates

The Independent: Everyday Sexism Project founder Laura Bates on feminism, porn, sex and the internet – Olivia Blair 3 May 2016

I just thought I was setting up this tiny website and maybe 50 women would share their stories and I could point to it in future arguments. I think it’s just a testament to the sheer scale of what was happening and also the sheer, belittling, dismissal and suppression of these stories.

The Guardian: A girl’s guide to growing up: how does Laura Bates’ advice play out in the real world? – Emine Saner 15 April 2016

When we talk about the real bombardment of crap that girls are dealing with, often you feel as if you’re painting a picture of girls being cowering victims. Really, the opposite is true. When you hear from 11- or 12-year-old girls, asking for us to talk at their school, or saying they’re holding a protest or have written something in the school paper, it makes you realise their strength, power and energy.

Articles by Laura Bates

The Guardian: Are we ignoring an epidemic of sexual violence in schools? – 12 December 2017

According to BBC research, 5,500 sexual offences were reported to police as having taken place in UK schools over a three-year period to July 2015, including 600 rapes. And a recent women and equalities select committee (WESC) report highlighted widespread sexual harassment and abuse of girls at school.

The Guardian: After Weinstein, let’s stop asking women to answer for their sex predator’s crimes – 15 October 2017

We do not ask why, or how, or with what possible motive men sexually harass and assault women. We focus on their victims, as if the abuse befell them by chance rather than by design, and could have been avoided with just a little more effort on their part

The Guardian: What I have learned from five years of Everyday Sexism – 17 April 2017

I hadn’t anticipated the practical and emotional help offered by other women – solidarity from those of my own age and staunch support from older feminists who had seen it all before. And nothing could outweigh the privilege of being entrusted with so many people’s stories, often never told before. I felt a great sense of responsibility to make sure women’s voices were heard.

Listen Again to Laura Bates at Festival of Ideas in 2016/

Girl Up
Women today are told they need to be thin and beautiful. They are told to wear longer skirts, to avoid going out late at night and to move in groups – to never accept drinks from a stranger, and to wear shoes they can run in more easily than heels. They are told to wear just enough make-up to look presentable, but not enough to be a slut. They are warned that if they try to be strong, or take control, they’ll be shrill and bossy. Laura Bates wants to tell them something different. She exposes the truth about the pressures surrounding body image, false representations in the media, the complexities of sex and relationships, the trials of social media, and the other lies women are told.

Read a review of this event on the blog: Laura Bates – Girl Up

Listen Again to Laura Bates at the Festival of Ideas in 2014/

Everyday Sexism

The Everyday Sexism Project was founded by writer and activist Laura Bates in April 2012. It started out as a website where people could share their experiences of daily, normalised sexism, from street harassment to workplace discrimination to sexual assault and rape. Despite having no funding or advertising, it quickly became a viral sensation, attracting international press attention, and putting the problem of sexism and gender imbalance firmly on the international media agenda, helping to spark a new wave of feminism in the UK. Laura Bates talks about her experiences, the offline projects, such as working in schools and universities, the collaboration with the British Transport Police and the tricky business of being a woman with an online and public profile.