Yarra Ranges joins 16 Days of Activism, encouraging gender equity with poster displays

by Freya Lucas

November 28

Women and men working in a range of different job roles are being showcased in gender equity posters in preschools across Yarra Ranges for 16 Days of Activism, which runs from 25 November to 10 December.

 

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is an international campaign coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and is used by activists around the world as an organizing strategy to call for the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence. 

 

The core 16 Days campaign takes place every year between 25 November and 10 December, and is run by more than 6,000 organisations in 187 countries. 

 

Posters have been placed in preschools and early learning centres across Yarra Ranges, featuring men and women in a range of roles that traditionally carry gender stereotypes, to coincide with the 16 Days of Activism. 

Yarra Ranges Council CEO Tammi Rose said the posters were themed around the phrase, “You can’t be what you can’t see”. 

 

While it was wonderful that young children had “very few limits to their imagination,” Ms Rose said, this was not something which persisted as children age. As children grow, she said “their goals can be heavily shaped around what they see as possible for themselves – or, just as importantly, what they don’t see as possible.”

 

This, she said, is what makes the visual images so important – young women and girls may not see women portrayed in STEM or trades, and young men and boys may not see men engaged in caring professions such as nursing and childcare.

 

“We know that gender is something people learn about and experience differently over their whole lives, and lifelong support and encouragement can help to ensure that the adults of the future live equitable lives where women are treated with respect,” Ms Rose said. 

 

“Our posters show men and women performing a number of roles, from nursing, construction work, and teaching, to being an artist or a firefighter. All of this is to drive home the message that your gender doesn’t define what you can do with your life,” she added. 

 

The posters complement the recently released Stories Beyond Stereotypes booklist, which features children’s books that “don’t rely on unfair stereotypes”.

 

Explaining why the poster campaign has chosen to work with children’s centres, Ms Rose said it was not only about the benefits for the children, but also because “when it comes to improving gender equity in our community, everyone is responsible and everyone can do something”.

 

As well as the posters in early learning settings, roadside banners will be placed throughout Yarra Ranges through the coming weeks, encouraging people to respect women and call out those who are doing the wrong thing.

 

Calling out sexist or disrespectful behaviour could include the following, Ms Rose said: 

  • Calmly disagreeing and explaining why the comment or action was unacceptable

  • Use non-verbal signs to show it is not ok, including shaking head, rolling eyes or not laughing along.

  • Educating people about why a comment or action is unacceptable, and why it’s important to stop

  • Checking in with the person who received an unacceptable comment, expressing your disapproval and offering help where appropriate

  • Reporting sexist or unacceptable behaviour in the workplace.

 

For more information, visit the Yarra Ranges website

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