OBJECT is an award-winning human rights organisation specifically set up to challenge the sexual objectification of women. We were set up in 2003 because of an ever-accelerating culture of objectification:- Lads' mags were becoming increasingly popular, internet porn and lap dancing clubs were more and more mainstreamed. Despite the social effects of this culture, there was little or no public debate on these issues. Many individuals concerned by what they saw felt alienated and silenced.
The scene was set for the 'pornification' of society – a culture saturated by sexualised and one dimensional representations of women and girls, in a way which has little or no parallel for men or boys. This has been so successfully accomplished that in recent years mainstream retailers market pole dancing kits or Playboy bedding to children and jobcentres carry adverts for escort agencies and massage parlours (although, thanks to our campaigning, such ads were withdrawn in 2010!).
We are not anti-sex, anti-nudity or linked to any religious or moralistic stance. We challenge ‘sex object culture’ because of the role it plays in reinforcing sexism and the attitudes it promotes, which underpin inequality and violence against women.
Our vision is of a society free of sexism, in which women are represented in their full diversity. This will be a crucial step to achieving full human rights for women and must involve tackling gender stereotyping and the objectification of women in the media - as has been consistently pointed out by the UN Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) since 1979 (1).
We produce information, including the information on this website, a regular newsletter, fact sheets and political briefings; raise awareness through constant media appearances; campaign with regular London meetings and virtual actions and lobby decision makers - from MPs, peers and councillors to media regulators.
Our lap dancing campaign, Stripping the Illusion, ensured a change in the law - ending the licensing of strip clubs as if they were cafes. We are now helping local people make sure their council takes up the new licensing and regulate lap dancing clubs for what they are – part of the sex industry. Working with Eaves and Dovetail Initiative (expert providers for women who have experienced abuse and exploitation) we have also set up a specialist support group for women from the lap dancing industry.
In partnership with EAVES, our Demand Change! campaign, ensured reform to the laws on prostitution. It is now a criminal act to buy sexual services from anyone who has been pimped, trafficked or otherwise forced or coerced into prostitution. We are now raising awareness over the explosion in prostitution expected during the 2012 Olympics.
[EAVES is a front line service provider for women from the sex industry]
Our Sport Challenge saw Parliament voting for the principle of independent, socially responsible regulation of the press and achieved new codes over how lads' mags and 'offensive newspapers' should be displayed in shops. In 2011, major retailers finally signed up to these, voluntary, codes. We are now lobbying for the Government to adopt recent Liberal Democrat policy to end Page 3 and other forms of objectification of women in newspapers and non-restricted magazines and in December 2012 we submitted evidence to the Leveson Inquiry about the need to tackle the Page 3 phenomenon in the UK Press.
Job Centre 'Sex Ads'
In 2010, after extensive lobbying, the Home Office agreed to stop carrying ads for work in massage parlours, escort agencies and other branches of the sex industry in Job Centres.
In 2003, our lobbying of London Transport paved the way for new anti-sexism guidelines over advertising on the London transport network.
Awards, patronage and accolades
Polly Toynbee, Guardian commentator is our patron.
We have been awarded:
- The Emma Humphries Memorial Prize, for our work to end violence against women (2009)
- A Government-backed Capacity Builders Award (2009)
- Were 'high commended' in the leading, Third Sector, charity awards
- Our CEO has been nominated for the '100 unseen women' award.
- Our Campaign's Manager has been nominated as a torch bearer for the 2012 Olympic Games.
How OBJECT is governed
OBJECT is company limited by guarantee (Object Now, company no. 7330415), governed by a constitution and overseen by a board of directors (management committee).
More details of how the organisation is organised can be downloaded here
Board of Directors (Management Committee)
Our board of directors oversee the work of OBJECT and are legally responsible for how its operated. They cannot be paid, yet play a vital role. They ensure the organisation is operating within the law, that the best possible structure and processes are in place and that we are adhering to our overall goals.
Members of the Board will have expertise in areas important to the organisation - such as fundraising or management.
The Board is elected annually at our Annual General Meeting, at which all members may elect prospective candidates.
Current serving Board Members members
Nechamah Inbar Bonanos (Acting Chair) – Nechamah has extensive experience in education and organisational structure and development. She has been on the board of Governors for 2 schools, on the national board of CASE (Campaign for State Education) and a Sure Start family support services co-ordinator. She is also an associate lecturer in psychology for the Open University.
Michaela Chamberlain, (Treasurer) - Michaela is an Oxford graduate and a trainee auditor studying for the ACA. She has previously served as a treasurer for a not-for-profit organisation and is an active OBJECT supporter.
Nisan Zerai - Kesete (Secretary) - Through her work at Eaves, Nisan has worked closely with OBJECT on the Demand Change! campaign. She has extensive experience working in the VAWG sector and undertaking research in the areas of prostitution, trafficking, and women's reproductive and sexual health rights. She holds a Bachelors and a Masters of Laws.
Janet Hibbert – Janet has extensive experience of trusteeship and organisational development in the voluntary sector. Janet has run her own consultancy for 20 years for the community sector and chaired funding conferences for national charities at the House of Commons.
Eloise Munday - Eloise has a wide range of experience in media and communications, campaigning, lobbying, public affairs, and government policy and a strong knowledge of feminist issues, particularly pornography and the sex industry.
Yeliz Osman - Yeliz has worked for seven years on violence against women and girls (VAWG) issues, with varied responsibilities across the public and voluntary sectors. She currently works as a Policy and Programme Delivery Officer in the VAWG Team at the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and has developed and managed complex projects covering a broad range of issues affecting women and girls including trafficking and sexual exploitation, prostitution, domestic and sexual violence and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage. She also has two years experience as a Trustee for a women's organisation which delivers a range of VAWG services.
OBJECT works closely with grassroots organisations across the UK and in 2008 our first regional OBJECT group, OBJECT Leeds, was created. Colleagues in the women’s sector include Rape Crisis, White Ribbon Campaign, Imkaan, Equality Now, NUS Women, The Fawcett Society (with whom we are lobbying for tougher licensing of lap dancing clubs), Eaves Housing for Women (with whom we are campaigning over prostitution) and Dovetail Initiative (with whom we have set up The Living Project for women who have exite lap dancing). We are partners with the Women's National Commission, members of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, advisors to Amnesty International UK, mandated to work with the National Union of Students and affiliated with Unison.
We provide educational material to groups such as WOMANKIND Worldwide, Rape Crisis and Nottinghamshire Domestic Violence Forum. Our campaign to see lads' mags and The Sport adequately regulated was supported by a wide range of organisations from the Truth About Rape Campaign to the European Women's Lobby.
(1) 1979 Convention on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Article 5.