Women’s Health Matters (WHM) has launched their Step Up! campaign to prevent harassment of women in public spaces.
The campaign will commence with a soft launch on Monday 6 March with the campaign to roll out in full by April 2023 in the Canberra City Centre.
Step Up! encourages everyone to step up and take a stand if they see disrespect or harassment of women and sits alongside the existing Canberra Safety Map resource.
Women’s Health Matters CEO Lauren Anthes says it is important to give people the tools they need when they witness this kind of behaviour.
“Everyone has a role to play in preventing violence against women. There will be many times when we see sexist behaviour and harassment of women even when we are not directly involved.
When this happens, there are lots of different ways we can step up. We can all take action to prevent discrimination and violence against women”, said Ms Anthes.
The Step Up! campaign aims to encourage the entire Canberra community to take action to improve women’s safety in public spaces across the Canberra region.
The project has been funded by the City Renewal Authority and Office for Women.
City Renewal Authority Acting CEO, Craig Gillman says the campaign has a focus on making the City Centre an even safer and more enjoyable place.
“The City Renewal Authority is so pleased to support the Step Up! campaign. Initiatives such as this are important in continuing to shape a diverse and vibrant City Centre where all members of our community as well as visitors can live, explore and thrive”, said Mr Gillman.
WHM hopes the campaign will encourage people to ‘step up’ and challenge disrespect and harassment of women.
“Research shows that violence against women is driven by traditional and harmful gender stereotypes that influence our attitudes and behaviours.
Violence against women is serious and common, but when you take action, you will have the support of most people around you. You don’t need to be a hero, there are little things you can do”, said Ms Anthes.
Minister for Women Yvette Berry says that safety at home and in public spaces is essential to full and equal participation of women and girls and is critical to the wellbeing of our entire community.
“The ACT Government’s key objectives of the Second Action Plan 2020-22 supporting the ACT Women’s Plan 2016-2026 is to build a community where women and girls are safe and supported to participate.
We are partnering with Women’s Health Matters to not only encourage women to speak up about the places where they feel safe or unsafe, but also for the general public to step up when they see inappropriate behaviour towards women and girls.
We all have a responsibility to build a Canberra that is safe and inclusive for everyone.”