...Spread the word without looking like a caped crusader."
All right, so YOU might understand why gender equality is good for everybody. We probably don’t need to tell you about the research that shows that treating men and women as equals is good for men’s health, happiness and relationships. And, not surprisingly, it’s good for women’s and children’s health and happiness, too1. But a lot of people aren’t as on top of this, and don’t see how important it is to understand and value equality.
So how do you spread the word and help your mates escape the exhausting (and completely unnecessary) ‘battle of the sexes’ without looking like a caped crusader? Here are a few ideas to help rally the peeps:
- Slowly, slowly… Raise the topic with mates who are more likely to appreciate the ‘fairness’ of gender equality. It’s much harder to sell gender equality’s benefits to someone who sees the whole topic solely as a ‘women’s issue’, irrelevant to them, or too ‘feminine’ to even talk about. Start with a network of like-minded mates and work out from there. This will give you support for times when you might cop backlash.
- Go for easy pickings… Do simple, low risk things like supporting someone else when they take a stand, share or like their related social posts or tweets.
- Focus on the upsides. Rather than just calling out the downsides to inequality, talk about the benefits of gender equality, likle less conflict, better relationships with, and more respect from women, and more freedom for people to live the life they want.
- Let someone else say it for you. Share material from those who say it best, like clips from people like Jackson Katz, David Morrison or Tony Porter.
- Get good information. Read up on facts at places like or Our Watch, prepare to bust myths, and memorise good ways of expressing your points. The best communicators usually use examples that people can relate to, and have good info to back them up. They don’t blame or accuse people and provide an easy solution that people can put into practice quickly.
- Stay off the soap box. You don’t have to annihilate your mate in public, so just keep it short’n’sweet with stuff like “Not cool”, “Not funny” or “Come on, you’re better than that…"
- Don’t get personal. You’re not trying to start a fight here – you want your mates to get on board, so keep it conversational and constructive.
- Point out the gap. Some of your mates are going to claim to be all for equality, but remind them there’s a big difference between what people say and what they do (e.g. “How come we say we’re all for equality but then assume men should…” or “If we respect women, then why do we…”)
If you’re calling someone out on their shitty behaviour, read the How-to guide to stepping up against sexist behaviour, and remember you’ll probably need to chip away at this. There’ll definitely be people who won’t agree with you and almost no one changes their mind straightaway. People will usually hear what you say, go away and think about it and then test the new idea out in their own time. The good news is you might have a bigger impact than you’ll ever know...