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University & TAFE involvement

The role of universities and TAFEs

Universities, as conduits for social change, play a pivotal role in shaping Australia’s future by addressing the norms, attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence against women.

White Ribbon works with universities and TAFE institutions across Australia to grow the White Ribbon social movement. We help educational institutions become White Ribbon workplaces, run awareness raising campaigns, deliver prevention training, and organise community activities to stop violence against women.

Women deserve to be safe

All women deserve the right to learn safely and freely, and everyone, from vice chancellors to students, has a role to play.

Your university or TAFE should have formal policies and procedures in place to ensure the safety of students and staff, address inappropriate behaviour and provide support for those experiencing violence. Universities and TAFE institutions also play a fundamental role in advocating for change to improve gender equality both on campus and within the broader community.

What can students do to stop violence against women?

Violence against women is everyone’s business and we all have a role to play. As the next generation of Australia’s leaders, your commitment to the White Ribbon message is essential to ensure positive cultural change for the future.

Here are a few simple ways you can grow the movement in your own life.

Safely stand up to violence against women and lead by example in all that you say and do

The White Ribbon Oath is more than just a statement of support for the White Ribbon cause. When you swear the Oath you make a commitment to lead by example, to be a role model and to intervene safely when needed. This means you will:

  • speak up and challenge sexist and disrespectful behaviour
  • challenge gender stereotypes and rigid gender roles
  • be aware of how your language and behaviour influences others
  • promote gender equality in all aspects of private, public and social life
  • model respectful relationships based on equality and respect
  • find out how to be a safe active bystander if you witness violence happening.

Raise awareness with your friends and peers

You can:

  • discuss the issue with your sporting club, social club, networks and peers
  • post a blog or write an opinion piece on gender equality and violence against women for your university or TAFE newspaper
  • get social – use your social networks like Twitter and Facebook to spread the White Ribbon message.

Encourage your university or TAFE to become a White Ribbon Workplace

Find out more about how an organisation can become a White Ribbon workplace.

Become a White Ribbon Ambassador or White Ribbon Advocate

Find out more about how to become a White Ribbon ambassador or White Ribbon Advocate.

Set up a White Ribbon club or society on campus

Establishing a White Ribbon club or society on campus is a great way to bring a group of people together to get involved in the White Ribbon movement and advocate for change. It is also an opportunity to generate momentum around campus safety issues at your university. Visit your student union, association, guild or SRC to gather the information you need to begin setting up your club or society. It is also important to consult your campus women’s officer and/or women’s collective. Violence against women is an extremely sensitive topic and checking that your work supports that of the women’s collectives is important. You will need to recruit members for your club, which usually occurs at orientation events. You will then have to manage the club, allocating office bearers, a budget, and activities.

Other ways to spread the White Ribbon message

You could also:

  • encourage other clubs to do the White Ribbon eLearning and live the White Ribbon message
  • host a forum, documentary screening or round table and ask an Ambassador to speak
  • run a White Ribbon event and grow the movement on campus
  • make gender equality or violence against women the topic of your next thesis.
  • encourage your university or TAFE to adopt a gender equality strategy if it doesn’t already have one.

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