Countering misogyny

Misogyny and gender-based violence has long been a deep social and psychological ill that plagues South African society. Social, economic, cultural and historical factors contribute to the prevalence of misogyny and gender-based violence in South African society. Law-enforcement based approaches towards addressing gender-based violence – while necessary – is insufficient as a societal remedy that is transformative of gender relations, and may in some circumstances work against it. Similarly, while empowering women to confront and stand up against against misogyny and gender-based violence is important, it is inescapable that men are largely responsible for these social and psychological ills. Hence, as a social and psychological ill it requires social and psychological interventions that draw on deeper, evidence-based insights into what fuels gender-based violence, particularly what motivates men to invest in, uphold and perpetuate patriarchal norms that produce and reproduce misogynistic attitudes and behaviours. Based on this insight, the Centre for Analytics and Behavioural Change started a programme called HeCareZA that mainly targets its communications to men. The HeCareZA programme mobilises scholarly insights (thanks to its interdisciplinary team) to: (1) identify and intervene in social media conversations and narratives that perpetuate misogyny and gender-based violence, and (2) identify, empower and mobilise online male influencers and allies who outspokenly oppose misogyny and gender-based violence. The HeCareZA programme continues to expand and delivers valuable insights that we use in our targeted campaigns.