21 July 2023

Sadiq Khan and Romesh Ranganathan: Women still aren’t equal in politics and comedy

21 July 2023

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has said misogyny is present in “all walks of life”.

Comedian Romesh Ranganathan, who helped Khan launch the ‘Say Maaate to a Mate’ campaign, also echoed the sentiment as they spoke at the event launch in London.

The campaign urges men and boys to challenge sexist behaviour and misogynistic attitudes, in a bid to tackle violence against women and girls.

“In the UK, [misogyny is present] in all walks of life, whether it’s in journalism, in politics, in the police, in the health service – all walks of life,” Khan told the PA news agency.

Ranganathan said barriers are in place for women in the comedy industry too.

“I still think it is much more difficult for a woman to do comedy than it is for a man. People have attitudes towards whether women can be funny and some people immediately make a pre-judgment,” Ranganathan said.

“I think it’s got better, but I don’t think we’ve solved the problem by any stretch.”

The campaign comes as a new study by Ogilvy Consulting, commissioned by the Mayor, revealed that two-thirds of men want to intervene when they hear misogynistic language, but do not know what to say.

“Men have got to be allies,” said Khan.

“We can’t allow this to be an issue that is just at the doorstep of women to resolve, just like racism has been an issue for people who are black and minority ethnic.”

Khan wants the campaign to instil men with the “confidence to firstly recognise sexism and misogyny and to challenge and call it out, and that will hopefully lead to a change in societal attitudes and a reduction and an end of violence against women and girls”.

The former human rights lawyer has two daughters with his wife Saadiya, and said: “The reality is their experiences are not my experiences.

“I’m not touched up on the Tube or the buses. I’m not looked at in a lecherous way when I go to the gym, nobody comments on the clothes that I’m wearing.

“I can go for a jog any time of the day. We’re going to make sure London is as accessible, as wonderful, as brilliant, as safe for women as it is for men.”

Since the murder of Sarah Everard by police officer Wayne Couzens in 2021, the Mayor has faced scrutiny about women’s trust in the police and their safety in the city.

“I recognise the institutional misogyny that exists in the police service, and racism and institutional homophobia,” Khan said.

“We’re not going to have a transformation of trust or confidence from women and girls, or the black community, or the LGBTQ+ community overnight.

“Too many women and girls have lost confidence in our police, and they need to have confidence in our police to report crime, and when they’ve been the victim of crime to come forward.”

You can find out more about the campaign here.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox