Tough man stereotype can hurt women and men: report

Our Watch, November 2019

Men who conform only to rigid stereotypes of how to be a man are more likely to have sexist attitudes and behaviours, which in turn makes them more likely to perpetuate violence against women, according to a new report by Our Watch and the Victorian Office for Women.

The landmark study, Men in focus, is an extensive review of Australian and international research evidence on the topic, which aims to build a deeper understanding of masculinity, as well as providing guidance for those working with men and boys to prevent violence against women.

Strategies for inclusion and equality – ‘norm-critical’ sex education in Sweden

Sex Education, 2019,  DOI: 10.1080/14681811.2019.1634042
This article examines the tactical (counter) politics of inclusive and ‘norm-critical’ approaches in Swedish sex education, focusing on the enactment of this critical agenda in sex education practices and how teachers interpret and negotiate the possibilities and pitfalls of this kind of work.
The analysis draws on participant observation in sex education practices and in-service teacher training, as well as interviews with educators.
Three recurrent strategies lie at the centre of the analysis: the sensitive use of language to achieve inclusion; the organisation and incorporation of ‘sensitive’ content to resist stigmatisation; and the use of different modalities to produce a specific knowledge order.
The analysis shows how these strategies are grounded in norm-critical ideals, which become partly inflicted with tensions and discomforts when acted out in practice. The  analysis further shows how an inclusive and norm-critical agenda runs the risk of becoming static, in the sense of providing students with the results of critique rather than engaging them in it.

He, she, or … ? Gender-neutral pronouns reduce biases – study

The Guardian, Tue 6 Aug 2019 

A new study has found that using a gender-neutral pronoun reduces mental biases that favour men, and boosts positive feelings towards women and LGBT people.

The finding marks an easy win, the researchers believe, and shows how a minor change in language can help chip away at long-standing gender inequities.


Disrupting gender norms in health systems: making the case for change

The Lancet, Gender Equality, Norms, and Health Steering Committee, Published May 30, 2019


Restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities are replicated and reinforced in health systems, contributing to gender inequalities in health.
In this Series paper, we explore how to address all three through recognition and then with disruptive solutions.
We used intersectional feminist theory to guide our systematic reviews, qualitative case studies based on lived experiences, and quantitative analyses based on cross-sectional and evaluation research.
We found that health systems reinforce patients’ traditional gender roles and neglect gender inequalities in health, health system models and clinic-based programmes are rarely gender responsive, and women have less authority as health workers than men and are often devalued and abused.
With regard to potential for disruption, we found that gender equality policies are associated with greater representation of female physicians, which in turn is associated with better health outcomes, but that gender parity is insufficient to achieve gender equality. We found that institutional support and respect of nurses improves quality of care, and that women’s empowerment collectives can increase health-care access and provider responsiveness.
We see promise from social movements in supporting women’s reproductive rights and policies. Our findings suggest we must view gender as a fundamental factor that predetermines and shapes health systems and outcomes. Without addressing the role of restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities within and outside health systems, we will not reach our collective ambitions of universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals. We propose action to systematically identify and address restrictive gender norms and gender inequalities in health systems.

I looked at 100 best-selling picture books: female protagonists were largely invisible

Sarah Mokrzycki, The Conversation, June 3, 2019 6.08am AEST

In April 2019, I examined the 100 bestselling picture books at Australian book retailer Dymocks: an almost 50/50 mix of modern and classic stories (the majority being published in the past five years).

I discovered that despite the promising evolution of the rebel girl trend, the numbers tell us that picture books as a whole remain highly gendered and highly sexist. Worse – female protagonists remain largely invisible.

How we tackle gender in picture books is important, as they help inform children’s understanding of the world and themselves.


Findings from the latest National Community Attitudes Towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS)

ANROWS, May 2019

Findings from the 2017 National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey are now live. The survey collects information through telephone interviews with over 17,500 Australians 16 years of age and over.

Key findings:

Encouraging results
• Most Australians have accurate knowledge of violence against women and do not endorse this violence.
• Most Australians support gender equality and are more likely to support gender equality in 2017 than they were in 2013 and 2009.
• Australians are more likely to understand that violence against women involves more than just physical violence in 2017 than they were in 2013 and 2009.
• Australians are less likely to hold attitudes supportive of violence against women in 2017 than they were in 2013 and 2009.
• There has been improvement in knowledge and attitudes related to 27 of the 36 questions asked in 2013 and again in 2017.
• There has been improvement in knowledge and attitudes related to all but two of the 11 questions asked in the 1995 NCAS and again in 2017.
• If confronted by a male friend verbally abusing his female partner, most respondents say they would be bothered (98%), would act (70%) and would feel they would have the support of all or most of their friends if they did act (69%).

Concerning results
• There continues to be a decline in the number of Australians who understand that men are more likely than women to perpetrate domestic violence.
• A concerning proportion of Australians believe that gender inequality is exaggerated or no longer a problem.
• Among attitudes condoning violence against women, the highest level of agreement was with the idea that women use claims of violence to gain tactical advantage in their relationships with men.
• 1 in 5 Australians would not be bothered if a male friend told a sexist joke about women.