What is Woman?

Adam De Salle
5 min readMar 11, 2021
Sarah Everard (Credit: Richard Garnder/Rex/Shutterstock)

The issue of women’s safety has again been thrust into the spotlight following the disappearance of 33-year-old Sarah Everard as she walked home to Brixton from her friend’s home in Clapham, South-West London, on March 3rd. After extensive searches, Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick confirmed “human remains” were found in woodland near Ashford, Kent on the 11th of March — it is believed these are Ms Everard’s remains. The shocking story is that Ms Everard did everything ‘right’; contacted her partner, wore leggings and sensible shoes for running, walked past CCTV in fluorescent clothing. But in truth, women shouldn’t have to do any of these things: why is it still not safe for women to walk home?

This news came as a new study from the UN Women UK survey reveals 97% of young women in the UK have been sexually harassed. Among the ages of 18–24, 97% of women were sexually harassed and among ALL age groups 80% of women had been harassed. It is important to note that sexual harassment does not equal sexual assault necessarily, it is roughly defined as unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature which: violates one’s dignity, makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated, and/or creates a hostile or offensive environment. Regardless, this statistic is still unacceptable, but at the same time unfortunately not shocking — if you speak to any woman they will probably have a story of sexual harassment, possibly even multiple occasions. The strength of feeling saw dozens of women sharing their own harrowing stories online using the #saraheverard and #TooManyMen. A vigil called ‘Reclaim These Streets’ has been organised in a show of support that everyone should be able to walk in public without fear. Tips for men to make women feel more comfortable at night have also been shared on social media. But this begs the question, why do women receive so much harassment?

Simone De Beauvoir

French Existentialist Philosopher Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Betrand De Beauvoir (or Simone De Beauvoir for short) famously argued in her book ‘The Second Sex’ that woman is ‘other’. Woman is not man, and man has historically defined what it means to be human. As such, woman lives with the reality of gender oppression. Unable to navigate the world free…

Adam De Salle

I am a young writer interested in providing the intellectual tools to those in the political trenches so that they may fight their battles well-informed.