Resources to Identify, Prevent & Report Sexism

FH OÖ’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

FH OÖ Compass upholds the 10 guiding principles of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria. Therefore, FH OÖ Compass upholds guiding principle 2, which states: “We represent a value system that does not tolerate any form of discrimination, be it on the basis of gender, ethnic origin, religion, ideology, disability, age or sexual orientation.”

Additionally, FH OÖ Compass upholds guiding principle 10, which states: “We are committed to the fundamental right to education for all people and support people nationally and internationally in acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills.”

FH OÖ commits to creating and maintaining a safe, respectful, and inclusive learning environment for all students. Here you’ll find resources to identify, prevent, and report sexism.

Identify Sexism

According to the Council of Europe, sexism is defined as the following: “a) any act, gesture or behaviour

     i) connected with the sex of a person or considering that person as            inferior or essentially reduced to her or his sexual dimension or

    ii) connected to harmful gender stereotypes

b) committed in a public or private place

c) with the purpose or effect of: 

    i) violating the dignity of a person, or of

    ii) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or             

        offensive environment” 1

Sexism is gender-based discrimination, and includes gender stereotypes and prejudiced behaviour patterns, false beliefs and attitudes, and gender generalizations. According to the European Institute for Gender Equality, “sexism is linked to power in that those with power are typically treated with favour and those without power are typically discriminated against.” 2

Sexism is also related to “considering gender as relevant where it is not.” 3

In order to identify sexism, it’s essential to become aware of your own perspective and biases, which are often a result of your upbringing, life experiences, and country of origin. Educate yourself and expand your perspectives by unlearning your own biases and engaging in constructive conversations with others.

The FH OÖ Compass upholds the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria’s guiding principle 10, which states: “We are committed to the fundamental right to education for all people and support people nationally and internationally in acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills.” FH OÖ students are encouraged to ensure that FH OÖ is a safe, inclusive, and positive community for all.

Identify Sexism in Everyday Life

The #MeToo movement has shown that discrimination against women is still deeply rooted in society. Even at a young age, people are shaped by role models and stereotypes in which, for example, girls are portrayed as beautiful, gentle and sensitive, while boys are adventurous, courageous and strong.

Sexism occurs in many everyday situations and, therefore, is often more than an accumulation of individual cases. Sexism, including sexist language, statements, and stereotypes, are discriminatory, and when addressed are, unfortunately, often belittled, ignored or socially accepted. 

Especially in the professional context, sexism, including sexist language, statements, and stereotypes, can occur. Because of the professional environment, it is often difficult for victims to directly address the incidents, especially when sexist comments are made by a superior or colleague.

Sexism is a structural problem that affects all people and requires a fundamental rethinking in society. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the problem, educate yourself, and expand your perspectives by unlearning your own biases and engaging in constructive conversations with others.

Identify Sexism in Language

Discrimination against women is particularly visible in language, for example, women are often degraded or implied only in certain contexts. The so-called generic masculine is used to describe mixed gender groups and includes both men and women (e.g. teachers, students, employees, politicians, etc.). These word forms are referred to as “neutral”, although the connotation is strongly masculine, which contributes to sexist language.

However, it is not only the use of the generic masculine language that reflects sexism at the linguistic level. Words that have to do with the female body, female sexuality or homosexuality are often used as abusive words, and thus discriminate.

Sexist expressions and forms of linguistic sexism have crept unnoticed into language usage over the years, and have been passed on inadvertently. This makes it all the more important to respect everyone and use inclusive language. FH OÖ commits to creating and maintaining a safe, respectful, and inclusive learning environment for all students.

Learn more about inclusive language here: FH OÖ handout on gender-sensitive language

Prevent Sexism

Recommendations to prevent sexism

Despite the efforts for equality and equal treatment for all genders, sexism unfortunately occurs. Remember that sexism is never acceptable and every person has the right to be respected. Here are some recommendations to help prevent sexism, and ensure that FH OÖ is a safe, inclusive, and positive community for all.

Recall facts of the situation

If you are a victim of sexism, including sexist statements, stereotyping or jokes, remember that none are acceptable. You are not alone.

If possible, try to maintain a calm, sensible mindset to address the situation. If you feel comfortable, speak to a trusted friend or classmate about the incident so that you are not alone with the trauma. If you feel comfortable, talk to an FH OÖ professor or staff member to determine the next course of action. If you feel comfortable, report it here:  Anonymous Report to the FH OÖ Gender and Diversity Management Conference (GDM-K).

Stand up to sexism

If you witness sexism and sexist statements, stereotyping or jokes, remember that none are acceptable. Be an ally and stand in solidarity with victims by making your presence known, listening to the victim’s recollection of the situation, reminding victims that they are not alone, and asking if and how they want support.

Commit to ensuring that FH OÖ is a safe, inclusive, and positive community for all by listening to and supporting victims.

Educate yourself and expand your perspectives

Commit to expanding your perspectives. Engage in conversations with people who are different than you are — in life experiences, language, ethnic origin, gender, religion, ideology, and age — to learn about their perspectives and understand how sexism affects them. Commit to unlearning your own biases and educate yourself about how to stand up to sexism and to promote equality and equal treatment for all genders.

If you see something, say something!

You cannot control the behaviour of others, but you can help ensure that FH OÖ is a safe, respectful, and inclusive community for all. It’s possible to help prevent sexism by directly addressing it and reporting it. For example, call out sexism by stating “That view is offensive” or “That behaviour is discriminatory and disrespectful.”

If you feel comfortable, anonymously report it here:  Anonymous Report to the FH OÖ Gender and Diversity Management Conference (GDM-K).

Further information to identify, prevent, and report sexism

Learn about the FH OÖ Gender and Diversity Management Conference (GDM-K)

Need Help? Anonymously Report to the FH OÖ GDM-K

Need Help? Contact an FH OÖ Mental Health First Responder on your Campus

Need Help? Contact the ÖH FH OÖ Student Helpline

European Institute for Gender Equality: Sexism at work

SoroptimistEurope: Sexism

Counseling Centers to Receive More Support

Ombud for Equal Treatment

Personal and free consultation (also with translation service)

Monday – Thursday: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Friday: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Phone: 0800 – 206 119 (Consultation and reporting of an incident)

Phone: 0732 – 783 877 (Regional Office for Upper Austria)

Mail: gaw@bka.gc.at

www.gleichbehandlungsanwaltschaft.at

 

Handout of the FH OÖ: Need Some Help – First orientation for problems around studying

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1 Council of Europe (n.d), “Elements of a Council of Europe Definition of Sexism,” (accessed January 11, 2024), [available at https://rm.coe.int/16806fbc0d#:~:text=Sexism%20can%20be%20understood%20to,to%20her%20or%20his%20sexual.].

2  “sexism | European Institute for Gender Equality” (2023), (accessed January 11, 2024), [available at https://eige.europa.eu/publications-resources/thesaurus/terms/1325?language_content_entity=en].

3  “sexism | European Institute for Gender Equality” (2023), (accessed January 11, 2024), [available at https://eige.europa.eu/publications-resources/thesaurus/terms/1325?language_content_entity=en].