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The negative portrayal and treatment of women in the UK press is not a parental guidance issue - as our Prime Minister David Cameron suggests - it is a sex discrimination issue.

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Letter to
the Prime Minister and Minister(s) for Women and Equalities
David Cameron has stated to ITV that he believes just "shutting the newspaper" is sufficient response to the numerous calls for an end to Page 3, laying responsibility for what children see at the door of parents. In the same interview he confirmed that he would not back a ban on this 42-year-old image appearing daily in the National press. Yet Page 3, and the UK's widely condemned sexist media culture are not within parental control, nor do they only negatively impact children. The Prime Minister is out of touch with the way these images are consumed, and with the damage that sexism has on society.

We set up this petition after being horrified by the reporting in the print and online press of the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp. By sexually objectifying Reeva using pictures of her from bikini modelling sessions, a number of publications, most notably The Sun, trivialised this most heinous of crimes committed against her. This wholly offensive, immoral and irresponsible reporting both sexualises and trivialises violence against women, which remains the cause of 2 deaths every week in this country.

The treatment of Reeva Steenkamp was not a one-off incident; this is a culture of sexism at the core of our tabloid press, symbolised by the 42-year-old Page 3 which sets the standard for this daily denigration of women.

In 2011 women’s groups: EVAW Coalition, Eaves, Equality Now and OBJECT/Turn Your Back On Page 3 gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry exposing the extent of the misreporting, misrepresenting, degrading and denigrating nature of our UK tabloids when it comes to its treatment and portrayal of women. You can read the groups’ statements, recommendations, reports and Leveson’s comments here

Despite this compelling evidence it remains unclear what strategies the government have in place to implement changes, protect women from this treatment, and take measures to stop offensive reporting practices.

As the Prime Minister and Ministers for Women and Equalities it is your duty to ensure that such gross displays of sex discrimination are addressed so we are calling on you to address and end this sexism promoted in our press, once and for all. You, our government, should be doing all it can to stamp out sexism in all its forms and addressing and tackling the abhorrent treatment of women in the press would be a fundamental step forward in achieving this.


Pictures (clockwise from top left)
1. Front cover of The Sun reporting on the violent death of Reeva Steenkamp ... in her bikini
2. Two Page 3 models topless ... and knickerless
3. Front page of The Sport with Kate Middleton's head superimposed onto someone else's pornifed body
4. The Sun's response to Harriet Harman and Lynne Featherstone the day before the 2010 general election after they spoke out about Page 3? They put Sixteen Page 3 models in blue knickers (as The Sun had recently swapped allegiance from Labour to Conservative) on Page 3 with the headline 'Save These Girls From The Dole Tomorrow'

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