The sharp corners of the bill establishing responsibility for sexism
In the last few days, a significant number of appeals by media representatives related to draft laws registered in the VRU, concerning manifestations of sexism and establishing responsibility for this act. What is it about?
One of the bills, namely #4598, it is proposed to make changes regarding the definition of sexism and the prohibition of its manifestations, and others, #4599 — amend the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses and establish responsibility for sexism.
Thus, it is proposed to make changes to the Law "On ensuring equal rights and opportunities for women and men", legislating the definition of sexism as "any action, gesture, visual manifestation, spoken or written words, practice or behavior based on the idea that a person or a group of people is worse because of their gender, and which are manifested in public or private spheres, on the Internet or outside it and are directed at (or cause): violation of self-respect or rights of a person or a group of people; sexual, psychological harm or suffering of a person or group of persons; creating a threatening, hostile, humiliating or offensive environment; obstruction of independence or full exercise of human rights by a person or group of persons; support and reinforcement of gender stereotypes". And also to make changes to Article 173-2 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses, providing responsibility for sexism by this very norm.
The draft laws are an important step in bringing Ukrainian legislation to the provisions of the Recommendation on preventing and combating sexism, adopted on March 27, 2019 by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, as well as updating the issues that are very acute in Ukrainian society.
However, aiming at important changes, the draft laws contain certain risks that can significantly affect their implementation in the practical plane. Yes, it is impractical to provide for administrative responsibility for sexism under Article 173-2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, since in fact the draft law equates the concepts of sexism, gender-based violence, and domestic violence. Under Article 173-2 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, persons are held liable for committing domestic violence. Unfortunately, gender-based violence in most cases remains virtually unidentified and unpunished.
Overburdening this norm with responsibility for sexism, without providing its definition, can lead to a misunderstanding of the essence of the act, its non-identification, and as a result, to the ineffectiveness of the norm itself.
Based on this, it is advisable to provide for responsibility for sexism by a separate norm, providing a definition of sexism in the corresponding article of the Code of Criminal Procedure.