From the infamous headline 'Never mind Brexit, who won Legs-It?', to describing female politicians as 'Cameron's Cuties' or 'Blair's Babes', the media has taken sexist swipes at women politicians time and again. Our campaign Views Not Shoes calls out misogynistic treatment in the papers, on the radio and television. The most powerful politicians in the UK are women. It's about time the press stopped giving shoe commentaries, and started focusing on their views and policies.

When will the media start reporting female MPs for their opinions, not their looks?

Sexism in the media has very real effects on the UK's political landscape. Young women are being put off going into politics, and only 33% of elected MPs are female. Black and minority ethnic women are even more under-represented, and suffer the cumulative disadvantages of sexism and racism in media coverage.

The media needs to get real and start taking female politicians seriously. Male politicians aren't constantly criticised for their looks, clothes or marriage - why should it be any different for women? If you agree, here's what you can do to help.

Call out sexism in the media

The Fawcett Society can’t watch every news programme on every TV channel, listen to every radio report across every local radio station, read every local newspaper and monitor every website in the country. We need your help.

It's important to remember that sexist press coverage of women also has a far-reaching effect on attitudes towards women in wider society. For example, the coverage of sexual violence or rape in a way that is often dismissive or blaming the victim. 

If you read a sexist story in your local paper, see something online or hear something on the radio which is misogynistic and racist, please let us know by tweeting at us, using the hashtag #viewsnotshoes.

Sexism in stories can come in many forms, including:

  • Comments about what female MPs wear rather than what they say
  • Unnecessary information about their personal life
  • Using sexist terms
  • Ask questions that would never be asked of men

You can also complain about any sexist coverage on television, the radio, on websites or apps by contacting Ofcom here.

Read our report

The Fawcett Society partnered with academics from Bournemouth and Huddersfield Universities to monitor how the media covered women candidates during the 2015 election campaign.

The ‘Where are Women’s Voices on the Economy?’ report presents an analysis of all coverage of the economy over the period of the general election campaign in 2015 in six national newspapers. In each article we counted two things; the number of references to a man or woman and the number of men or women quoted.

The findings of the research were stark. In the 611 articles addressing the economy, which included quotes or references, over 80% were from or to men. 80% of newspaper articles on the economy had a male bias, with men quoted or named in greater numbers than women.

Read the full report here