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Structural change is needed to stamp out gender inequality: Our Watch updates its national framework to prevent violence against women

November 24, 2021 / Our Watch media

In this article

Our Watch is today launching the second edition of Change the story, an evidence-based framework that guides a coordinated national approach to preventing violence against women.

Change the story outlines the essential actions needed to address the gendered drivers of violence, and shift the unequal distribution of power, resources, and opportunities between men and women in order to stop violence against women before it starts.

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said given the impacts of this violence are felt right across society, the updated Change the story makes clear that we must go beyond addressing individual behaviours to consider the broader social, political, and economic factors that drive violence.

“The evidence shows that we can stop violence against women before it starts, provided all parts of society play a role. We need to address the gendered drivers of violence at every level and continue to promote and embed gender equality everywhere we live, work and play,” Ms Kinnersly said.

“While it is important that individuals model respectful relationships and have the tools and resources to be able to do something in the face of disrespect towards women, we also need measurable systemic and structural change.

“We need all levels of government across the country continuing to improve policies to advance gender equality and commitment from all Australian employers that they will take the actions necessary to ensure women feel safe, valued, and respected when they go to work.

“It’s also vital that all schools and universities are supporting children and young people with the knowledge they need to develop respectful and equal relationships.”

The updated framework has an increased focus on men as perpetrators of violence, detailing the connection between harmful forms of masculinity, gender inequality, and violence against women, and highlighting the need to engage men in prevention work.

“The research shows that some men’s rigid attachment to the idea that they must be in control, tough, aggressive and suppress their emotions, is not only harmful to men but is also harmful to women.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to ensure that all our prevention activities address these ideas about what is to be a man and engage men and boys to not only call out disrespect towards women but to act when women are underrepresented in the media, in the workplace, and in leadership positions.”

Change the story second edition also highlights that when addressing gender inequality, we must also address other intersecting forms of discrimination to prevent violence, such as racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, and colonialism.

“An effective national approach to the prevention of violence against women must address both the inequalities between men and women in public and private life and other social injustices that can combine to drive increased levels of violence against women.”

“To achieve this, we need ongoing commitments from all governments, workplaces, education facilities, sporting organisations, and the media to utilise the updated Change the story framework so they can address the drivers of violence against women and put gender equality at the heart of their work.”

Media contact

Saraya Musovic, Senior Media and Communications Advisor (saraya.musovic@ourwatch.org.au or 0448 844 930) or media@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline: “If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.”

To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Change.

About Our Watch

Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the practices, norms, and structures that lead to violence against women and children

Find out more about our work to end violence against women in Australia.

The evidence
Woman holding baby.