This week 30 years ago: Hackney Council cracks down on ‘male chauvinist pigs’

The Gazette 30 years ago

The Gazette 30 years ago - Credit: Archant

“Male chauvinist pigs are to be rooted out of libraries, leisure centres and swimming pools,” declared the Gazette this week 30 years ago.

Hackney Council was urging women to complain if they encountered harassment or sexist behaviour while using leisure facilities. Special complaint forms were distributed and posters and ads were put up around the borough.

It came two years after a survey of women using leisure facilities, in which respondents expressed a need for a crackdown.

The council’s women’s unit, led by Linda Bellow, asked chiefs to agree on the definition of sexual harassment, and suggested a scale of penalties.

Under the code, any casual touching would constitute harassment if the woman found it undesirable, regardless of the man’s intent.

Men using “affectionate terms that women find demeaning” like “love” and “pet” could earn a reprimand. And men repeatedly displaying pornographic pictures should face the sack, they said.