Over the first weekend of February, several female Hist Committee members compiled their anecdotes of sexism and misogyny within the society. They then created a report summarising these experiences and demanding corrective measures (including gender quotas in chamber debates, the introduction of an Equity Officer to deal with complaints, and an increased culture of ‘checking’ various types of sexist behaviour).
The women read the report at a Committee meeting on Monday 5th February, and Committee agreed to support and implement the measures listed. The signatories later presented a written form of these demands to Committee, and also published this document on Facebook. That day, the two most pressing steps were fulfilled. The CorrSec implemented a system of 40% female gender quotas in chamber debates, effective from next week’s debate and onwards; the Auditor passed a ruling at Private Business to open up the position of Equity Officer.
The signatories would like to stress that they did not intend the public note listing their policies as a personal attack on any particular member of Committee. The issues it deals with aren’t unique to the Hist, let alone to this Hist session. If sexism has intensified this year, it’s not because people in the Hist have gotten worse; it’s because our checks and balances have. Please focus your anger on the unchecked biases we all hold, and not on the few people you imagine might be responsible. We’re all responsible. Putting others in the spotlight is extremely hurtful to them and ignores the greater role we’ve all played in perpetuating a sexist culture.
As things stand, the signatories are delighted to have Committee’s support and hope to keep it as the other steps progress.