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WIRE launches new kit to change the conversation on sexism in Australia

Melbourne, March 8, 2019:  WIRE is launching a new conversation kit, “Gender Equity and You” at its International Women’s Day event, Conversations Create Change. The kit is designed to support transformative conversations about gender in the community and is part of Lead for Change, a primary prevention project which aims to change community attitudes through everyday conversations.

“Research shows that people’s beliefs around gender create the conditions for violence against women to occur,” says Julie Kun, CEO of WIRE. “This kit supports people to have safe, respectful and effective conversations with people in their own communities. These conversations will challenge the condoning of gendered violence, promote women’s independence and decision making, challenge gender stereotypes and strengthen positive, respectful and equal relationships.”

The kit outlines five steps to a transformative conversation — listen, acknowledge, affirm shared values, reinforce gender equity and expand and connect. These steps follow evidence-based models for persuasive conversations and extend the well-known WIRE feminist framework.

“When people are empowered to have transformative social conversations, they can really shift attitudes,” says Jessica Stott, Lead for Change Coordinator. “There’s a broad group of people open to new concepts in gender equity — what’s known as the ‘moveable middle’ — but they need encouragement and support to embrace these changes.”

We need to shift the critical mass of community attitudes on gender equality,” says Ms Kun. “The National Community Attitudes towards Violence against Women Survey (NCAS) results released late last year show that there’s still a substantial minority of people who mistrust women’s reports of violence and feel the problems of gender inequality are exaggerated. And while the survey showed some improvements in community attitudes, change is occurring far too slowly for the women who are killed by their partners every week in Australia.”

The launch of the kit coincides with the launch of WIRE’s new website and will kick-off an ongoing marketing campaign, “Conversations Create Change”.

The launch will feature a panel of speakers in conversation, facilitated by Ms Stott. Speakers include Yael Hersham, a WIRE volunteer and Jewish community activist, Sally Goldner, AM, from Transgender Victoria and Mehwish Nawaz, a graduate of Democracy in Colour’s first Young Muslim Fellowship.

About the conversation kit

The conversation kit contains:

  • A short booklet explaining the power of conversations and why they work to shift community attitudes.
  • A pocket guide with suggested phrases and a set of responses to common misconceptions.
  • A self-care worksheet

About the Launch

Date: March 8, 2019

Time: 2.30pm for a 3pm start

Venue: ‘The Bowl’, 500 Bourke St, Melbourne

Panel: Yael Hersham, Sally Goldner, Mehwish Nawaz

Registration: https://conversations-create-change.eventbrite.com.au

About Lead for Change

Lead for Change is a primary prevention project which aims to change community attitudes through everyday conversations.

Participants learn skills to have safe, respectful and effective conversations with people in their own communities which challenge the condoning of gendered violence, promote women’s independence and decision making, challenge gender stereotypes and strengthen positive, respectful and equal relationships. The diverse communities in which WIRE volunteers live, work and play create broad reach for the change conversations with the aim of influencing people in the moveable middle to create new community standards for safety and gender equality. Lead for Change is funded by the Victorian Government’s Free from Violence fund.

About WIRE

WIRE is the only Victoria-wide free generalist information, support and referral service run by women and non-binary people for women, non-binary and gender-diverse people. Established in 1984 as the Women’s Information and Referral Exchange, WIRE runs a telephone support line on 1300 134 130 and a Walk-In Information Centre at 372 Spencer St, West Melbourne, for any woman, non-binary or gender-diverse people with any issue.

WIRE advocates for gender equality and runs a wide range of programs to inform and support on issues such as financial capability, homelessness and family violence.

For interview

Contact Rosanne Bersten, Communications Coordinator, 0402 148 489, rbersten@wire.org.au for a press copy of the kit.

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