Appalling Words the World is Saying About Our Daughters

October 20, 2013 Gary Barker and Michael Kaufman

(This post also appears at Huff Post. )

An astonishing new UN Women ad campaign is showing what the world is saying about our daughters and the women in our lives.

Using Google’s autocomplete function with various phrases (women shouldn’t, women need to, women cannot, and women should) the creator of the ad, Christopher Hunt, took an international, English-language snapshot of bias, sexism, discrimination, and sheer hatred of women on September 3, 2013.

Women cannot be trusted. Women need to be put in their place. Women need to be disciplined. Women shouldn’t have rights. Women shouldn’t work. Women should stay at home.

Try it yourself. Although you’ll get different results depending on what country you’re in, you’ll get at least some responses like these.

Generations of our sons have been brought up with attitudes like this. Generations of daughters have experienced the impact—on self-esteem, safety in their homes and on the streets, opportunities in education and the workplace, and reproductive rights.

As fathers of daughters, we say it’s high time that fathers and, indeed, all good men, say this has gone on way too long.

We dads need to get our acts together and make sure we’re speaking out in our homes and communities against attitudes and jokes that belittle girls and women. That try to limit women’s control over their own bodies—like limiting access to birth control or safe abortion. That blame women for rape. That turn a blind eye against violence towards women.

Dads need to set an example that the work we do is no more valuable than the work women do. We need to take on half of the work in our homes to make sure, in the case where we have a woman partner, that she truly has the opportunity to do half the work outside the home.

Dads need to challenge all those sexist attitudes around us. We need to take on those in our places of worship who assign women a second-class place in our religions, like saying women can’t be priests, imams, or rabbis, or that teach that men should be in charge in the home. We need to speak out to the teams we coach, the boys we teach, the men we work or play with.

Women should enjoy full equality.

Women shouldn’t live in fear of violence.

Women need male allies who support their rights.

Women cannot…..doesn’t compute…doesn’t compute…doesn’t compute.

Gary Barker and Michael Kaufman are leaders of, a new international campaign that aims at men doing 50 percent of care work. They are writing a book on the global transformation of fatherhood