The Law Commission, an independent body that recommends legal changes in England and Wales, is recommending that misogyny be made a hate crime. Currently, hate crime legislation in the countries cover “protected characteristics” including race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation, and disability—the new recommendation would extend that list of protected characteristics to also include sex or gender. After reviewing the current hate crime laws, the commission said that the majority of evidence it had seen about gender-based crimes was related to misogyny, but that they would consult further on whether “sex or gender” as a protected category would cover both men and women, or just women.
The Guardian reports that this recommendation is just one part of a broader push for misogyny to be classified as a hate crime, with an emphasis on recognizing street harassment experienced by women. And this push has already begun to influence policy and practices on a local level—a pilot program in Nottinghamshire which treated public harassment of women as a gender-based hate crime found that the majority of the people interviewed wanted the policy to continue.
Professor Penney Lewis, the criminal law commissioner, said this about the recommendation:
“Hate crime has no place in our society and we have seen the terrible impact that it can have on victims... Our proposals will ensure all protected characteristics are treated in the same way, and that women enjoy hate crime protection for the first time.”