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New UN campaigns use Google search results to reveal prevalence of sexism and homophobia

UN Women recently launched a clever ad campaign designed to highlight the prevalence of sexist attitudes. The campaign uses Google's auto-complete function to reveal what people type into their search engine when they think no-one is looking.

The results make for depressing reading. Type the words "women should", for example, and you'll discover that the most common ways to complete the phrase are "stay at home", "be slaves" and "be in the kitchen". Conversely, type "women shouldn't" and you'll be prompted to complete the phrase with "have rights", "vote" and "work".

Inspired by the UN Women ads, the UN human rights office's Free & Equal campaign - a global public information campaign for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality - has come up with a series of spin-off ads that show what happens when you repeat the Google search substituting "women" for "gays". The result is a horrifying picture of barely submerged hatred. Gays, according to many Google users, should "be killed" and need to "stop whining". 

These images show that for all the progress of recent years -- including, in many countries, important legal victories, anti-discrimination measures and an increase in levels of public support for LGBT equality -- deep pockets of hate remain. It is a timely reminder of the need to fight prejudice in all its forms and of why homophobic hate is now on the agenda at the United Nations.

To learn more about the UN Free & Equal campaign, visit the campaign website www.unfe.org, or join the conversation at Facebook or Twitter

For more on UN Women's campaign to highlight sexism and discrimination against women, see http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/10/women-should-ads

 31 October 2013

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