Stopping violence against women: A guide for your workplace

by Cameron Edmond02 Dec 2013
Last month, HC reported on White Ribbon Australia’s criteria for becoming a ‘White Ribbon Workplace’ – an accreditation that solidifies an organisation’s ongoing mission against violence against women.

Libby Davies, CEO of White Ribbon Australia, stated that, in addition to the eight organisations already accredited, a further 24 workplaces are expected to achieve accreditation by the end of the year.

“However, while this buy-in is encouraging to see, more work must be done,” Davies added.

In a new report, entitled Genders at Work: Exploring the role of workplace equality in preventing men’s violence against women, White Ribbon stated that workplaces have become increasingly prominent sites for violence prevention and intervention.

The widespread social problem has its roots in social and structural conditions, including at work. As such, the issue can be combatted here by altering the culture perpetuated by the workplace. In addition to cultures that normalize violence, unfair divisions of labour and male dominance also play a part in allowing violence against women to flourish. The attitudes and responses towards employees who are either victims or perpetrators of violence also impact this.
Key HR takeaways
To engage in the struggle to stop violence against women, White Ribbon Australia outlined some key strategies men can adopt in the workplace:
  • Introduce face-to-face educational programs and social marketing. These workplace-based strategies can raise men’s awareness of gender inequality and violence against women.
  • Promote a culture of zero tolerance for sexist and disrespectful behaviour.
  • Move away from traditional models of masculine leadership, and undermine established masculine norms and cultures in the workplace.
  • Ensure that men themselves become advocates for change – for example, by running violence prevention campaigns at work. Using one’s professional status to advocate violence prevention is also effective.
  • Challenge structures and systems that are producing inequality or exclusion. Counter unconscious bias in recruitment and promotion, conduct gender audits, set targets for women’s representation, examine gender interactions, etc.
  • Encourage a greater work life balance for men in which they spend more time involved in parenting and domestic work can also help achieve gender balance and thus reduce violence against women.


  • by Estelle 2/12/2013 3:07:30 PM

    I think we should also look at the attitude some women display towards men. I don't know whether this happens in some workplaces, but hearing my son's conversations with his friends about the behaviour of mainly young women in night clubs makes my sking crawl. I hear how some young women tease and right out insult men. When I work late in my office I can hear language coming out of young women out on the street that I have not heard from men. I wonder how these "ladies" behave at home, school and or work. So should we also look closely at how women behave towards men in the workplace - most definately.

  • by Kate 2/12/2013 3:32:33 PM

    Estelle, perhaps your comments and concerns speak more to the kind of clubs your son frequents, rather than protecting a woman's right to a safe home and working environment.

  • by Estelle 2/12/2013 4:03:26 PM

    Oh, I agree with you, but then again these women probably work and or study somewhere and that's what worries me. And my son has only ever been to 3 night clubs, two of which have VIP rooms for special guests; well known celebrities, needles to say he and his friends (men and ladies) now prefer to get together in restaurants, they are in their late twenties.

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