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#16 Days of Activism 2020

Day 16 – Thursday 10 December

Inequalities exist for our LGBTIQA+ community who do not adhere to the binary notions of gender and sexuality. When we grow up in a world that assumes everyone is heterosexual and cisgendered we create rigid gender roles and stereotypes that harms everyone.

The SAFV Centre worked in the Breaking the Binary Code partnered with BATForce, City of Greater Geelong & Creative Geelong on the Breaking the Binary Code Project, funded by the Victorian Government.

Over 18-month’s this project worked with LGBTIQA+ young people and stakeholders, with a focus on challenging binary constructs of gender and sexuality and raising awareness and understanding of healthy, safe and respectful relationships.

The Zines celebrate gender and sexuality diversity and are designed to support and encourage discussions about gender, sexuality, relationships and diversity.

Please visit our Breaking the Binary Code project page to read the project findings summary and download or request hard copy of the Zines.


Day 15 – Wednesday 9 December

With changes to employment, closure of schools, existing gender norms and stereotypes are likely to be reinforced and leading to increased burden.

The economic impact of COVID-19 is likely to affect majority of the workforce, especially women.

Changes in employment and the closure of schools, represents opportunity to reinforce gender norms, with women more likely to shoulder the caring and schooling responsibilities of children and the elderly, while providing opportunity to challenge these gender norms for men to carry out more the domestic care responsibilities[1]. Recent ABS data (2020), has shown that for those that are able to work from home, women were more likely to reduce their hours worked by 11.5% in comparison to 7.5% of men.

While the gendered impacts of COVID-19 are still being understood, emerging research suggests that women are likely to be significantly impacted during and post COVID-19. A report by Rapid Research Information Forum highlights the impacts of COVID-19 on women in STEM’s employment, as they are likely to experience job loss as they’re more likely to be employed in insecure positions.

COVID-19 can deepen pre-existing gender and other inequalities- Highlighting the importance for women to be represented and included in decision making process, to ensure that promoting gender equality is central to the recovery process.

Exploring the gendered impacts of the response to COVID-19 provides valuable learning for promoting and embedding gender equality during and after COVID-19.


6202.0 – Labour Force, Australia, Apr 2020

Rapid Research Information Forum (2020), The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in the STEM.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) (2020a), 6291.0.55.003 – Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, Quarterly, Feb 2020, EQ08 – Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards (Pivot Table),.[email protected]/mf/6291.0.55.003

[1] Workplace Gender Equality Agency (2020) ‘Gendered impacts of COVID-19’

Day 14 – Tuesday 8 December

In looking at The Duluth Wheels, created by the Domestic abuse intervention project we can see what creates a healthy, respectful relationships.

Equality in relationships has many factors -unsurprisingly respect, support and honesty are listed within the Duluth wheel. It is important to consider how fairness, shared responsibility and communication shape relationships, and specifically in the context of consent.

Consent plays a big role in shaping all healthy relationships. Consent should never be assumed. Consent must be enthusiastic, freely communicated, flexible and mutual between all people.

Enthusiastic consent is part of the legal definition of consent and the Victorian Crimes Legislation Act 2010 defines consent as a ‘free agreement’. Any sexual act cannot be entered into under coercion, control or undue influence.

Consent is a shared understanding, driven by clear communication. It not about an absence of ‘no’, but about behaviours and words that mean an enthusiastic yes!

Remember consent is key to all healthy relationships.  Checking for consent is everyone’s responsibility.

Consent mean an enthusiastic yes.

Day 13 – Monday 7 December

Challenging gender stereotypes and norms creates a space where individuals are not constrained by gender and can create positive personal identities and progresses gender equality.

Gender roles and stereotypes sets out expectations, roles for what boys and girls ‘should’ be like, from their interests, to self-expression, to how we communicate and even career choices. Gender is often thought of as binary, with men and women exhibiting opposing and complementary traits, values and characteristics. Gender can influence us in different ways.

The idea of men as primary earners (the breadwinner) and primary carer ‘caregiver’ stereotypes are pervasive and limiting. While decisions around caring for children are often economical, with women more likely to be employed part-time or utilise flexible work practices in their workplace.

The ‘Mums Can, Dads Can’ Project is a family, domestic and sexual violence primary prevention pilot project being developed by Town Camp community members and is being delivered in Alice Springs. The Project aims to challenge rigid gender stereotypes of the roles of men and women in parenting and will build on the work that is currently being carried out by the Tangentyere Family Violence Prevention Program (TFVPP).


Day 12 – Sunday 6 December

COVID-19 pandemic is both a health and economic crisis. In previous viral outbreaks, women have been largely under-represented in spheres of influence in planning and recovery. This often leaves women’s need largely invisible and unacknowledged. In times of crisis and recovery, we often see a reinforcing of gender roles from families to government. This tendency to stick to what is known has significant implications on recovery. (insert link and tag: Gender and Disaster Pod)

The gendered impact of COVID-19 on employment is significant, highlighting women’s lack of economic security and the need for a gender equitable recovery plan.

In times of crisis and recovery, it is critical that decision making is gender equal. Female leaders have been under-represented in navigating and leading the recovery of COVID-19, with women comprising 20% of World Health Organisation Emergency Committee. Guiding Australia’s economic recovery post-COVID-19, the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission has 6 men and 2 women as members.


Day 11 – Saturday 5 December

Family violence and violence against women is preventable. We can create change in the places that we live, work, learn, socialise and play. As every person, community and setting is different, prevention work requires tailored techniques for specific settings. Primary prevention efforts will be most effective, when they are consistently mutually reinforced across a range of settings.

As we move from place to place, we can influence attitudes and behaviours.

Some key places include:

  • Education, care settings for children and young people
  • Universities
  • Workplaces, corporations and organisations
  • Sports and leisure spaces
  • The arts
  • Faith-based groups and organisations
  • Popular culture, advertising and media
  • Public places, transport and in
  • Legal and justice

Read more about our Primary Prevention work here

Day 10 -Friday 4 December

Men’s control and over-representation in decision making and limitations to women’s independence looks different in different settings. On an individual level, it might manifest with women being spoken over in meetings, in comparison to men’s dominance in leadership roles in organisations despite being female dominated industries (such as care, education)

Research suggests that women’s leadership styles may vary to traditional traits and characteristics. Putting leadership into practice poses many challenges for women, as cultural norms continue to encourage women to behave more like men to succeed and prosper in roles of leaderships.

Our understanding of gender can be limiting when we consider what and who makes an effective leader. Rigid ideas around femininity and masculinity can create a double standard, where more masculine traits are celebrated and respected in men, while if women display the same qualities, they may be perceived as bossy or cold-hearted. We also tend to see more feminine traits, such as empathy and compassion as undervalued and undermines ‘strong’ leadership.

Rigid ideas on masculinity and leadership limit the scope of leadership styles and of what is considered effective leadership.

Respect is challenging the rigid gender norms associated with leadership, and supporting people of all genders to develop a leadership style that is not defined by gendered expectations.

Day 8 – Wednesday 2 December

Upcoming training- Wellbeing and Sustainability for people working in primary prevention.

This training session is designed for practitioners working in the prevention of violence against women and family violence or gender equality roles. The prevention of family violence and violence against women requires creating long term change, by sustained efforts, shifts in policy, practice and systems.

Prevention work can influence us professionally and personally and it is important to explore practitioner resilience within the prevention sector.

In this professional environment, this training workshop provides opportunity for participants to:

  • Explore the drivers and elements of burnout, compassion fatigue, moral distress and vicarious trauma
  • Gain an understanding of vicarious resilience, compassion satisfaction and moral resilience in a prevention of violence against women and family violence context
  • Explore some of the challenges and opportunities specific to working in primary prevention
  • Explore resilience framework, organisational and individual strategies that strengthen professional practice and practitioner sustainability

To register your team or yourself please click here.

Day 6 – Monday 30 November

Workplaces are a critical setting for promoting gender equality and preventing violence against women.

During COVID-19, workplaces have adapted and responded to social distancing restriction by supporting their workforce to work remotely. This has resulted in the introduction of increased workplace flexibly practices.

Despite women making up more than half of Australian’s population, women continue to be significantly under-represented in spheres of influence, across political and corporate decision-making bodies, women comprising 17.01% of CEOs are women, 25.8% of board members and 30% of key management positions (WGEA, 2020). Australia was recently ranked 57 for women’s political empowerment and participation in the Global Gender Gap Report (2020).

Reform’s such as the Victorian Gender Equality Act (2020), the Equal Opportunity Act (2010) and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities are designed to create more equitable workplaces, where workplace demographics will reflect the diversity of society, there is equal pay and zero tolerance for sex discrimination and harassment.

These legislative changes normalise gender equality and influence further policy shifts, social norms and attitudes to achieve gender equality.

Read this presentation by Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19: Public Hearing, on advancing gender equality beyond COVID 19 pandemic

Watch the overview of the data from the WGEA on measuring gender equality in the workplace in 2020.  Data Launch 2020 – YouTube

Day 5 – Sunday 29 November

To live free from violence is a human right.

To prevent violence against women, we need to challenge attitudes and behaviour that condone violence against women.

The National Community Attitudes Survey (NCAS) is the world’s longest running survey of community attitudes towards violence against women. The most recent (2017) NCAS report revealed that 1 in 3 Australians believe that if a woman sends a nude image to her partner, then she is partly responsible if he shares it without her permission. While also revealing that 1 in 4 young Australians believe if a woman sends a nude image to her partner, she is partly to blame if he it shares it without her consent.

Respect is not sharing intimate images of a person without their consent, regardless of your or their gender.

Check out this video on the findings of the 2017 NCAS youth report

Condoning of violence works to justify, excuse, trivialise and downplay the seriousness of violent behaviours. The condoning of violence against women can play out in various ways.

Exploring how violence against women is reported on in the media is a valuable example of how language and framing works to downplay, excuse and justify violent behaviour. This often works to remove responsibility from the person using violence and places blame on the person impacted by the violence.

Our Watch has developed a range of resources of promoting effective reporting of violence against women in the media.


Day 3 – Friday 27 November

Gender equality is when people of all genders have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities- it is essential to stopping violence against women from happening. Gender inequality is the most consistent factor associated with violence against women.

Evidence tells us, there are four key drivers that influence a higher probability of violence against women and create a culture of gender inequality. To prevent violence against women we need to take these actions

  1. Challenge the condoning of violence against women
  2. Promote women’s independence and decision-making in public life and relationships
  3. Foster positive personal identities and challenge stereotypes and roles
  4. Strengthen positive, equal and respectful relations between and among women and men, girls and boys
  5. Promote and normalise gender equality in public and private life

While gender inequality is the most consistent factor leading to violence against women, it is not the only one. Gender inequality can intersect with other forms of inequalities, discrimination and oppression; influencing the way violence is perpetrated, the frequency and severity of violence and experiences in accessing support.

It is critical that when preventing this violence, all forms of inequality are addressed.  Addressing all forms of inequality will lead to creating an equal, safe and inclusive community.

Day 2 – Thursday 26 November

Yesterday, the Primary Prevention Community of Practice (PP CoP) meeting was held to ‘Co-create the next 12 months of the PP CoP’. The PP CoP is led in partnership by The SAFV Centre and WHWBSW for practitioners working in prevention of violence against women in the G21 region.

The PP CoP is a forum for information sharing, professional development, building a shared understanding of primary prevention, to create partnerships and coordinate efforts in primary prevention within the region. An opportunity to network, build connections and reflective practice.

The PP CoP have a broad range of members, across health, tertiary education, consultants and local government and have had presentations from, but not limited to XYX Lab, Our Watch, Crime Statistics Agency and ANROWS.

For further information on the PP CoP click here or contact [email protected]

Day 1 – Wednesday 25 November

#16DaysofActivism is a global campaign, from 25 November to 10 December annually, that calls for the prevention of gender-based violence against women. The theme of #16DaysofActivism 2020 is ‘Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”.

In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, public health measures have been put in place to slow the spread of virus Evidence based research from the Australian Institute of Criminology, including a survey of 15,000 women, tells us that women are experiencing a higher rate of family violence than before COVID-19. In this research, the majority of women who reported experiencing violence reported multiple forms of violence during this period (68.3%).

Early data reported France experienced a 30% increase in family violence, with Cyprus and Singapore both reporting at increase in calls to support services of 30% and 33% respectively (UN Women, 2020).

Violence against women is preventable and we all have a role to play.

As we continue our support of the campaign over the next 16 days, join us on social media for evidence-based posts about preventing gender-based violence.

The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of the land we stand on. We are committed to working toward creating a community where all people indigenous and non-indigenous are safe, connected and empowered to live well. The Sexual Assault & Family Violence Centre recognises the diverse needs of our community and we ensure our services are inclusive of all children, young people and their families including those who are of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent, from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds, those who identify as LGBTIQ and persons living with disability. We work collaboratively with people and partner organisations who also support our diverse client group. Interpreter and translator services are available to all our clients upon request.

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