Gender equality is the route to ending violence against women (VAW). Empowering men and women equally – both in law and in practice – can change power relations that underpin VAW.
Gender equality is a fundamental human right that should not be denied to anyone. It is one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and it is also one of the 8 Pillars of Global Peace. Many people care about equality, but they might not know how to promote it. Supporting gender equality means challenging prejudicial attitudes and assumptions related to things like what people think about sexuality, race, age, or disability status. One way we can promote gender equality is by preventing violence against women.
This article explores 12 ways on how to support gender equality so that we may create an equal world for both men and women with less violence against women.
1. Establishing Equal Partnerships to promote gender equality
In the past, men were not involved in raising children and doing housework. Now men should be encouraged to take an equal part. Men are encouraged to support women’s careers by helping with the house and taking care of their kids when they’re newborns.
Organizations should offer paid maternity leave to both parents so that they can spend time with their newborn child before returning to work. This will also help promote childcare responsibilities between fathers and mothers equally instead of just one parent shouldering this responsibility.
2. Breaking Down Stereotypes
Gender inequality can be reinforced through negative attitudes towards men or women who do not conform to traditional gender roles. Breaking down negative stereotypes (traditional, rigid social norms that come with it) about gender roles will allow people to think of more ways in which they can be themselves. These attitudes need to be challenged everywhere from schools, work and at home.
3. Understand the importance of gender equality
Women make up half of the world, but they are underrepresented in decision-making. They also face discrimination. Women have limited access to healthcare, education, and economic opportunities which have led them to be disproportionately affected by poverty and violence. Governments need to make sure that both males and females have an equal opportunity for jobs without discrimination.
4. Become informed about local resources for victims of abuse and learn how to help someone who is in need
It’s important to know what resources exist in your community if someone is dealing with domestic violence. Find out how you can provide comfort and help them take action so they don’t remain trapped by fear.
If someone tells you they or another person is in an abusive relationship, offer to help by asking them if there’s anything specific you can do. Encourage the person and tell them that leaving is not a selfish choice but will benefit them and their family. If they don’t want to leave, offer your contact information so they have more options for reporting abuse outside of their partner.
Be supportive during difficult conversations such as when they’re making decisions about whether or not to report abuse to authorities. Remind victims of domestic abuse that no one deserves this type of treatment.
5. Support legislation that prevents discrimination based on sex or gender identity
We need to take action. The United Nations says that gender equality is a human rights issue and it’s something we can’t ignore any longer. We need to create legislation that prevents people from being discriminated against because of their sex or their gender identity. This will help us achieve true change throughout the world!
6. Educate yourself about the definition of gender equality and violence against women
It is important to understand the definition of gender equality and violence against women. This is so you can stop it and make sure that all people have equal opportunities, treatment, and respect for their rights. The United Nations says “gender equality” is when men and women enjoy equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities without discrimination or violence.
7. Learn how to respect people’s boundaries
When someone is hurt, they might not want you to touch them or ask them questions. They might need space and time alone. If you are unsure whether the person wants help, offer to get emergency services on their behalf or call a friend instead of going up to them directly. It is also important to educate yourself on other ways to offer help. You can offer emotional support or help them get more resources. Check out resources here.
8. Be a good bystander by intervening in situations that could lead to violence against women
If someone tells you that they’ve been sexually assaulted, pay attention. The person may want to talk about the experience and figure out what happened. Paying attention also means recognizing warning signs of an abusive relationship.
Another way bystanders can help prevent violence against women is by calling out inappropriate jokes and comments related to sex/sexuality when they hear them from others. This will contribute to a culture where everyone feels safe within their own gender identity and sexuality without fear of judgment.
9. Get involved with your community – volunteer, donate money or advocate for change
Nothing is worse than feeling powerless in the face of injustice. But you’re not! You can make a difference by fighting against violence towards women and girls by getting involved with your community. One way to do this is by volunteering your time at organizations that provide support for victims of gender-based violence.
Another option? Get out there on social media and use #endrapeculture #GenerationEquality when talking about these issues. It is an important conversation starter because society has normalized sexual assault culture. Jokes like ‘locker room talk’ or one-night stands where both parties are too drunk to consent have become rampant. No matter what you choose to do, it will be an important step in making this world more equal. Together we can make the world a better place!
10. Don’t tolerate jokes about sexual assault
Don’t let sexual assault jokes go unchallenged. It is not about whether or not you laugh at them, it is about how you react when someone does. When someone has a good sense of humor, they know that if their joke falls flat with others, the best thing to do is apologize and move on. If your friend tells an inappropriate or offensive joke, call him out for it. Even though they may be joking with good intentions, this doesn’t excuse ignorance about how humor around abuse can hurt people in bad ways.
11. Challenge sexism whenever possible without making it personal
If you hear a sexist remark, say it’s not right. When girls are teased for not conforming to traditional ideas about being feminine, stand up for them. If someone says something offensive about a girl’s appearance or sexuality, tell them it is wrong. Don’t laugh at jokes that put down girls’ abilities or intelligence just because they’re told by popular boys or men from school, work, or at home. Refuse to participate in sexual harassment activities like catcalling and groping when you are with men you know. Support female-only spaces such as those found in many feminist organizations.
12. Work on changing attitudes so that they’re not based on traditional ideas about gender roles and what is considered masculine or feminine
People have made ideas about what is masculine and feminine. But it’s not always true. Work on changing how people think about those ideas and how they act because of them. They might be angry if you try to help them with what is masculine or feminine, but if you talk to them nicely, they will want to change their attitude. When people do different things, the idea of what is masculine or feminine can change too.
It is important to work on changing attitudes so that what is considered masculine can include qualities such as nurturing or empathy. While feminine behaviors are seen in other contexts than just childcare or homemaking.
Ask yourself if your own actions reinforce traditional ideas about gender roles, then work hard to stop doing those things.
As a society, we have the power to change attitudes and behaviors that are based on traditional ideas about gender roles. It’s time to get involved. We can start by challenging sexism in our communities, respecting other people, and speaking up.
Many men don’t know that they have power. They can control their words, attitudes, and actions to create equality. Sometimes this is because of bias in society that teaches them to dominate over girls when they are young. If we invest more resources into education about gender norms and encourage positive media portrayals where both sexes share responsibilities like childcare, soon our social environment will be less oppressive towards women.
What steps are you taking to promote gender equality? If you’re looking for more information or want help making this goal happen, join our mailing list.