The Platform for Gender Equality strongly condemns hate speech in the pre-election period

Before the start of the pre-election campaign for the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, the Platform for Gender Equality calls on both parties and their supporters to demonstrate democratic capacity and refrain from insults and spreading hate speech.

And the past pre-election cycles were marked by extremely strong hate speech, which was especially focused on the women who were involved in the pre-election process. And this time, the campaign has not yet officially started, and we are already witnessing sexist and chauvinistic attacks on women. Again, social networks are the biggest nursery of obscenity, uncivilization, insults, misogyny and even open sexist hate speech.

We condemn the hate speech that is intensifying as the elections approach and appeal for responsible and civilized behavior.

Gender-based hate speech encourages violence against a particular person or group on the basis of belonging to a particular gender. The integrity of women in the public sphere is under attack especially when they "dare" to actively participate in decision-making. The absence of a system of punishment, as well as the relativization of hate speech, is a condition for the spread of intolerance and an atmosphere of lynching. "Criticism" or condemnation of women active in public life is always on a personal basis, in the form of hate speech that is often based on comments with sexual connotations and gender stereotypes and prejudices. Women who are not afraid to participate in public life and exercise their democratic right to participate in elections as candidates regardless of their age, ethnicity or religion are particularly under attack.

No woman should be the target of gender-based hate speech. As long as the public sees women only through a sexist prism, we will neither see more women in decision-making positions, nor will the objectification of women in all fields of her existence be eradicated.

We stand in solidarity behind women participating in public life because only declarative commitments that do not correspond to reality will not truly advance gender equality. Only with practical steps can substantial changes and improvement of gender equality be achieved in the economic, social, political and all other spheres of society.

The idea that women's place is in the home is an outdated, offensive and discriminatory idea that means the exclusion of women and the regression of the whole society. Instead of using sexist speech and moralizing about how women should look and behave, more room should be made for women in all social spheres. A woman's place is wherever decisions are made, because women make up half of society and must not remain excluded from policies and decisions that directly affect them.

The Platform for Gender Equality will vigilantly monitor attacks on women in public life. In addition, all citizens can report cases of hate speech on the specially-purposed platform for that purpose: www.govornaomraza.mk. Reports containing hate speech will be processed accordingly to the competent institutions.