Blog Header Test 05 What we’ve learnt about allyship for gender equity

March 4, 2021

Over recent years, HealthWest and our partners have increasingly recognised that the work of preventing violence against women cannot be effective if women are doing it alone. Since 2017, HealthWest has been on a journey to learn how to practically go about this and applying it at a community level. Anna Vu, Prevention Manager, reflects on where we’ve been so far.


The Working Together with Men model: Finding creative responses to hard questions

Over recent years, many of our partners in the Preventing Violence Together Partnership (PVT) have increasingly recognised the importance of engaging men in gender equity and preventing violence against women.

Since 2017, HealthWest has been on a journey to learn with our partners and to fill the gap in guidance on how to practically go about this at a community level:

  • How can we do it safely?
  • How can we avoid reproducing the same patriarchal culture and system that gives rise to inequity and violence?
  • How can men be engaged as allies to work alongside women and influence their areas of privilege and power?

HealthWest has been working on creating male allies for gender equity through our project model: Working Together with Men. We have piloted the model twice with various partners, including Brimbank City Council and Victoria University, and last year released the Working Together with Men resource.

16 Days of Allyship campaign: a conversation starter within partner organisations

The 2020 campaign for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) was a great opportunity for the PVT partnership to work together to apply what we’ve learnt working with men to turn it into the 16 Days of Allyship.

In the lead up to the campaign, partners learnt and thought together about how to apply some of the concepts in the Working Together with Men model to a campaign which sought to engage a larger audience of men, as well as women who are looking to identify allies.

Through a series of social media posts and emails, people were introduced to the concept of allyship and given ideas for action to take. Our partners also increased the exposure of their audiences to the allyship concept through workshops, speaking events and performances.

Campaign evaluation

Evaluating the campaign has shown us that engaging our partners like this has been an effective way to share what we’ve learnt about allyship with people that can continue to apply it. Here are some highlights from our partners:

Working with partners on allyship activities enhanced the focus on working together with men, and also increased the profile within our organisation.

The greatest outcome for us was engagement. After participating in the bystander training we ran, some participants reported that it made them re-think the perspectives of other and they felt more confident calling out sexist behaviour.

Integrating the allyship theme pushed forward our efforts to build up support for an ally project in 2021. It is also described as inspiring by people we come in contact with, because the question of how to involve men in this work is critical to people’s sense of how successful primary prevention efforts are.

The allyship campaign has opened up a conversation in council about engaging more men and what the best approaches to do this are… [This] is an opportunity to pursue and exploit in 2021 to increase the focus on men’s role in being an active ally for gender equality.


More on Allyship

  • Watch Tips for Allyhood, featuring some great allies that we have worked with over the years

Preventing violence against women