How Do We Position Violence Against Girls and Women to Not Just Be a Women's Issue?

In our recent interview with immigrant rights leader Pramila Jayapal, we asked her: Campaigns are becoming the main vehicle for communicating with the electorate the public policy changes you wish to see. Are there important strategic differences that activists need to understand about how to treat male versus female voters?

Here's what Pramila had to say:

I think it probably depends on the issue, but I would say one of the main things we paid a lot of attention to was to not inadvertently box women right back into a particular role. For example, while it's true that kids are a really important part of a woman's movtivation and persona, we also wanted to include women who are entrepeneurs or single. We didn't want to just paint the picture of women in the family role. I think we have to be really careful about that because it just continues the cycle of boxing women into specific roles and there all kinds of diverse roles that women do and want to play. Similarly, we had to be really conscious about racial diversity. Sure, we can speak just about Latinas in immigration reform, but think of all the opportunities we are missing to talk to Asian, Caucasian, and African-American women! Our campaign really focused on defining immigration reform as an every women's issue--not just affecting some women. This component is often, sadly, left out of the immigration debate when we focus it only on one race or ethnicity.

So, how do we position violence against girls and women so it's not just a woman's issue? How do we position violence against girls and women so that everyone sees they have a stake in ending it? We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please offer your thoughts via a comment. 

Comments

Tony Porter (not verified) replied on February 12, 2014

So how do we get men and boys to no longer see violence against women and girls as a women’s issue? I believe at the core of this issue is to socialize men and boys to have an interest in the experiences of women and girls.  I have found that the path of least resistant to move men in a conversation that it’s not a women’s issue, that it’s a humanitarian issue is to ask them about their daughters and other women they love.  Asking men about the world they want to see for their daughters changes the conversation completely.  Asking men about their daughters and other women they love, is a strategy to make use of the emotional connection between men and women they love. Once the conversation has been emotionally solidified, we can move to an intellectual discussion that includes all women.  In my opinion, it is vital that we continue to make progress in the inclusion of men and boys in our work to end violence against women and girls. If women and girls could end the violence by themselves they would have already.  Men are required as part of the solution to ending violence against women. 

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