The #MeToo motion at DM2018

The branch’s #MeToo motion to the NUJ’s Delegate Meeting was amended and added to by numerous branches, this is what was passed at DM2018:

Composite E (covering motions 45, 46 and amendments)
This DM notes that women are still misrepresented, objectified, humiliated and sexualised in sections of the media. Stereotypes still apply. Victim blaming still occurs when reporting violence against women including harassment. Women employed in the media are also victims of discrimination and inequality.

DM notes that the #MeToo social media campaign has allowed hundreds of women who have suffered from sexual assault around the world to open up about their experiences in atmosphere of mutual support and solidarity.

DM also notes, while having concerns about trial-by-media, the positive role played by social media in providing an environment for openness about sexual harassment and assault that had previously been suppressed.

DM also notes that allegations of sexual abuse and the silencing of those affected have been on-going within large media organisations for years now.

This DM welcomes the call by the General Secretary of the ICTU that complaints of sexual harassment should be explicitly covered as a protected disclosure under the Protected Disclosures Act 2014.

DM notes that the Code of Practice on Protected Disclosures Act 2014 (Declaration) Order 2015 covered harassment but does not make specific reference to sexual harassment in the workplace.

DM calls on the Irish Government to initiate a review of the Code of Practice consistent with the proposal put forward by the ICTU.

This DM reaffirms the union’s commitment to zero tolerance of all forms of harassment in the workplace and instructs the NEC to promote greater awareness of the pernicious nature of gender based harassment, as part of the union’s trade union training programme.

DM welcomes the Stronger Voice for Women in the Media project in Scotland, carried out by the National Union of Journalists, with support from the Scottish Government via the STUC, and hopes that it will be possible to find ways of continuing and expanding this vital work on enhancing the role of women in journalism and the media and how women are still misrepresented.

This DM instructs the NEC to seek to build on the success of the project not just in Scotland but throughout the union by:

  1. Exploring new ways to engage with women providing them with opportunities to come forward with complaints of sexism and harassment in our industry, share their experiences, and expose abusers;
  2. Fighting back and calling out examples of poor treatment of women by the media;
  3. Working with media organisations to build systems of support for their staff who come forward and to develop a system to support our freelance members who have been harassed or abused;
  4. Supporting women who find themselves on the receiving end of sexism, discrimination and harassment, whether in the workplace or by the media;
  5. Pressing for all sectors of the media to adopt responsible reporting standards demonstrating respect for women, eliminating objectification, sexualisation, victim blaming and unjustified personal attacks;
  6. Pushing for greater diversity in all newsrooms with intersectional representation and more women to smash the glass ceiling and fill a greater proportion of senior editorial roles to ensure the media is better representative of all society;
  7. When reporting women, encouraging the media to focus on the ideas, abilities and achievements of women rather than their appearance, personal life and how they dress;
  8. Exploring ways in which women members can achieve a stronger public voice in arguing for better representation of women in the media and by the media.
  9. Requesting the Ethics Council to encourage stronger adherence to the Code of Conduct with specific reference to Clause (9)
  10. Support #MeToo and other online campaigns to expose endemic sexual abuse in media organisations and other businesses including Trade Unions and other membership organisations.

DM also instructs the NEC to draw up a code of conduct for paid and lay officials that would help to create a climate that would eradicate sexual harassment, and which might also serve as a model for chapels to adopt.

DM further instructs the NEC to work with the health and safety committee and equality council to promote health and safety awareness and training so that NUJ councils, committees, branches and chapels are sufficiently knowledgeable of the relevant legislation to put in place measures (in addition to robust house agreements) that can help prevent harassment and provide recourse should it occur.

All our other motions, except for the motion on Membership (which was accidentally missed off the list of motions we confirmed) were passed without amendment (see previous posts).

Members can read all the motions passed at the Delegate Meeting on the NUJ website.

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