White Ribbon Day 2019 and 16 days of activism against gender based violence

Mon 25 Nov 2019

The White Ribbon NZ campaign this year is asking people to Challenge the #Unspoken Rules around masculinities.

The White Ribbon NZ campaign this year is asking people to Challenge the #Unspoken Rules around masculinities:

"Unspoken Rules are the expectations that boys and young men inherit from society, based on outdated ideas of what a man is, how he acts, and how he should express himself."

The 2019 White Ribbon NZ Campaign focuses on three common unspoken rules or social expectations: "Be the Man", "Toughen Up" and "Boys Don’t Cry." The campaign has information and resources to help rethink these rules, intervene with other men and promote healthy masculinities. 

White Ribbon NZ promotes respectful relationships to prevent men’s violence against women.

Gender attitudes and link to violence against women

In 2018, Gender Equal NZ published results from the first national survey of gender attitudes. While 79% of New Zealanders agreed gender equality is a human right, the survey found that some people still hold strong ideas about gender roles that can contribute to gender inequality.

Our Watch (Australia) recently published a report that explores research on links between rigid stereotypes of masculinity, sexism and violence against women. The report, Men in focus: unpacking masculinities and engaging men in the prevention of violence against women (2019), found:

"Attachment to a rigid set of ideals about masculinity – dominance, control, risk-taking, hypersexuality, heterosexuality, stoicism, aggression – is associated with a range of harmful behaviours, including violence against women. This is well acknowledged by a large range of peer-reviewed literature in the fields of social sciences, public health and psychology"

In addition, they found that men who subscribe or adhere to dominant norms and practices of masculinity experience greater health risks. These negative impacts are compounded for men who are also affected by discrimination and disadvantage, such as racism, homophobia, classism and ableism. The extensive report also explores prevention, engaging men and boys, and more.

Promundo, a global agency working on gender justice and violence prevention, published a research brief, Unmasking Sexual Harassment: How Toxic Masculinities Drive Men’s Abuse in the US, UK, and Mexico and What We Can Do to End It (2018). For more information see their more detailed report, Masculine Norms and Violence: Making the Connections (2018). 

Based on this model a survey of young men was conducted in Australia with findings in the report The Man Box: A study on being a young man in Australia (2018).

Equality Institute (Australia) published a report that looked at evidence on the drivers and contributing factors of violence against women and girls, focusing on social norms. Piecing Together the Evidence on Social Norms and Violence Against Women (2017) outlines social norms or attitudes that contribute to violence against women and girls. It also examines how to change social norms and key factors that contribute to effective change.

Related resources

As part of their 2017 campaign, White Ribbon NZ developed a 35-minute film called Raise Our Men. The film features interviews with New Zealand men talking about being socialised as boys and their experiences as men. It is available as a resource for anyone working with men (including young men). It explores gender roles, emotional expression, masculine identity, peer groups, abuse, relationships, respect, consent and more. It is freely available online.

Manhood 2.0: A Curriculum Promoting a Gender-Equitable Future of Manhood (2018) was developed by Promundo and the University of Pittsburgh. The curriculum is designed to engage young men aged 15 to 24 in reflecting on the impacts of harmful gender norms including teen pregnancy prevention, dating violence and sexual assault, and the bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals. 

16 days of activism against gender-based violence 

The international 16 days of activism against gender-based violence runs from 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10 December (Human Rights Day) each year. The UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape! 

Get involved by sharing photos, messages and videos that show how you are participating in the campaign on Facebook Instagram and Twitter using #OrangeTheWorld and #GenerationEquality. You can also join the conversation on social media by sharing campaign materials. For more information about “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape” and action ideas, see the 2019 concept note.

2020 will be the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995). The Declaration is a global policy framework and blueprint for action to realise gender equality and the human rights of women and girls.

Related media

‘Benevolent sexism’ and the switch to violence, Newsroom, 02.12.2019

Crystal's death must mean something, Press Release: White Ribbon, Scoop, 12.02.2019

Our National Shame: Two Deaths In White Ribbon Week, Press Release: National Network of Family Violence Services, Scoop, 27.11.2019

New Zealand Landmarks Illuminate Orange for 16 Days, Press Release: UN Women NZ, Scoop, 27.11.2019

Catalysing change for gender equality, Opinion: UN ESCAP, Scoop, 27.11.2019

Time to raise awareness about abuse against disabled women, Press Release: Human Rights Commission, Scoop, 25.11.2019

White Ribbon Day motorcycles crowd Parliament forecourt, RNZ, 25.11.2019

White Ribbon research shows toxic masculinity stereotypes still remain in New Zealand, Newshub, 18.11.2019

White Ribbon Ride demonstrating Healthy Masculinity, Press Release: White Ribbon, Scoop, 18.11.2019

Bikers to hit the road for a long journey against domestic violence, Stuff, 10.11.2019

'We excuse unacceptable behaviour': Renewed calls for change in New Zealand's attitude towards violence, Newshub, 06.11.2019

Preparations Underway for Beijing 25-Year Review and High-level Celebration, SDG Knowledge Hub, 30.05.2019

Image: White Ribbon logo

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