Hugo Gye — Daily Mail April 15, 2014
Britain was today accused of being the most ‘in your face’ sexist country in the world by a UN expert from South Africa.
Rashida Manjoo, who is compiling a report on violence against women in the UK, said that the country has a ‘boys’ club sexist culture’.
Her evidence for that ‘culture included women being wolf-whistled in the street and the popularity of social media, while she blamed the Government’s cuts for increasing society’s entrenched sexism.
Critics ridiculed Ms Manjoo’s comments, pointing out that gender inequality in Britain pales in comparison to countries such as Saudi Arabia where women face systematic repression.
The UN special rapporteur on violence against women originally comes from South Africa, known as the ‘rape capital of the world’, where has been estimated that 40 per cent of women will be raped at some point in their lifetime.
The other countries she has visited as part of her duties include Somalia, where women are routinely subjected to female genital mutilation, and Papua New Guinea, where polygamy is common.
Ms Manjoo has been in Britain for two weeks investigating the prevalence of violence against women, and today announced her preliminary findings.
She said: ‘Have I seen this level of sexist culture in other countries? It hasn’t been so in-your-face in other countries. I haven’t seen that so pervasively in other countries. I’m sure it exists but it wasn’t so much and so pervasive.
‘I’m not sure what gives rise to a more visible presence of sexist portrayals of women and girls in this country in particular. What is clear from these indications of portrayals of women and girls is that there is a boys’ club sexist culture. That exists and it does lead to perceptions about women and girls in this country.’
The special rapporteur added: ‘If I was walking down the street and there were whistles – which won’t happen at this stage in my life – but that’s sexist culture.’