Gender-based violence is “any act of violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life” (United Nations). Unfortunately, this is a pervasive issue within Irish society, with 1 in 4 women in Ireland admitting they have been the victim of severe physical violence from a male partner (SAFE Ireland, 2015). These shocking statistics clearly show the attention this problem demands, especially considering another finding from the report revealing that 79% of these violent acts go unreported to the authorities or any other persons. The tendency for women to suffer in silence is a serious matter, and in order to disrupt this damaging narrative, the SAFER project aims to raise awareness and educate people on gender equality, healthy relationships, and respect. Innovative training aimed at primary school teachers and students assists changing attitudes and influences behaviour with the outcome of reducing violence based on gender, whilst encouraging reporting and the protection of those affected.
We have an exciting conference named ‘Embrace Equality’, coming up on 24th October at the Ashling Hotel, Dublin, to present the findings of our special, EU-commissioned project SAFER (Systematic Approaches For Equality of gender, 2018-2020). This free event focuses on fighting detrimental gender stereotypes and aims to prevent gender-based violence in education, stemming from the ethos of the SAFER project.
The conference agenda features presentations by expert educators and practitioners, a panel discussion and a keynote address given by Dr. Louise Crowley, UCC. We are very excited to welcome Dr. Crowley, who is helping to contribute to cultural shifts in attitudes towards women by demanding zero-tolerance policies on all forms of sexual harassment and abuse. Her experience includes the introduction of the Bystander programme to all 22,000 students at UCC, with a version of this programme also being employed in secondary schools. Roll out of the online Bystander programme to all third level institutions across Ireland is now supported by the Minister for Higher Education and will commence in 10 Higher Education institutions in the coming years. Therefore, we are very much looking forward to the wisdom she can impart on this central topic of gender-based violence.
The conference will also bring together a wide range of stakeholders to highlight the importance of, and current work within education in Ireland to promote gender equality and prevent gender-based violence. The voice of students, educators, researchers, advocacy groups and policy makers will be featured.
All in all, Embrace Equality is projected to be an informative day, with varied, engaging presentations and a diverse range of attendees. We hope to highlight the benefits of the SAFER project as a widely available, didactic tool to help prevent gender-based violence from occurring.
If you would like to register to attend this free event, please follow this link: