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Women's Safety Challenge Community Champion Update #4

Photo of Karolle Rabarison
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Karolle Rabarison is our current volunteer Challenge Community Champion. You'll see her popping up across the Women's Safety Challenge with handy tips and words of encouragement – and posting community updates here like a true champion!

Through the OpenIDEO community’s collective research, we have learned about dozens of organizations that address safety and empowerment for women and girls. As we move on to the Ideas phase, let’s look through some of the existing initiatives that place men and boys at the heart of the solution.

Photo from #HeForShe campaign by UN Women.

Men Can Stop Rape was born from the recognition that men often lack access to resources on how they can take positive action to prevent sexual violence. The organization’s various programs promote healthy masculinity by engaging men and boys in workshops, mentorship through youth development programs and clubs, and public awareness campaigns, among others.

Meanwhile, Man Up mobilizes both young men and women in a global movement to stop gender-based violence by building their capacity as organizers and connecting them to organizations addressing the issue through sports, music, technology, and/or the arts.

We can all name at least one organization that focuses on empowering women and girls to raise their voices. HeForShe is also a campaign for women’s empowerment but, to shake things up, invites men to user their voice to speak up about gender equality. Listen to some of the men contributing on the campaign’s YouTube channel.

A number of contributions shared ads with powerful messaging on the nature of masculinity and men’s role in promoting women’s safety. One example features Gilette India’s Soldiers Wanted – wanted “not to guard borders. Not to go to war. But to support the most important battle of the nation. To stand up for women … Gillette salutes the soldier in you.” Check out the original post for a summary their impressive participation numbers.

Before taking on the CCC role, I was asked how I might decide which inspirations and ideas to feature. I said that I would dig up those contributions that are gender inclusive, ones that involve both men and women when considering the issue and designing solutions. Women’s safety is not a women’s issue, but I expected the challenge discussion to focus on women ­– what they can do, and what can be done exclusively for them.

Thankfully, I was wrong. As it turns out, I don’t have to do much digging to find numerous instances that include men in this conversation.

As we start to think about building ideas for this next phase of the challenge, it's an excellent time to keep in mind one of our Opportunity AreasChallenging Gender Norms and Expectations.

Let's ask ourselves how parents, educators, men and boys can become engaged in creating and enabling a safe environment for women and girls?

I leave you now with a short video produced at Whistling Woods International that confronts the leering male gaze, challenging the male characters to change their behavior.
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Community Champions , Women's Safety Challenge


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