Countering Misogyny – the Hecareza Project
Misogyny – a dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women – is acknowledged as a key factor that underpins gender-based violence (GBV). Research conducted by the World Health Organisation revealed that internationally 35% of women have been the victims of gender-based violence and South Africa has one of the highest rates of GBV globally – in fact the leading cause of death amongst South African women is intimate partner violence.
GBV has far-reaching consequences for women as it is detrimental to their physical, emotional, sexual and reproductive wellbeing. It also adversely affects the physical and emotional wellbeing of children as well as the health of men. GBV therefore has devastating effects on communities as well as on the economy.
The overarching objective for this project is to counter misogyny and gender-based violence on a large scale by using a unique blend of advanced social media analytics, platforms, research, media attention, support, psychology, engagement, dialogue and partnerships to counter the issue. The project can be broken into three distinct initiatives:
1. Using cutting-edge social media analytics we could identify people who share particular interests and values, spanning socially progressive to anti-social stances on misogyny, and we are able to engage, empower and amplify these progressive voices (called protagonists). The ultimate goal: to bring the many progessive voices to bear on the anti-social ones.
2: The project also uses traditional media like community radio to speak to protagonists and directs them to a website: (hecareza.co.za) where they can watch educational videos and download Dialogue Facilitation toolkits. These toolkits will enable protagonists to have structured and constructive dialogue with men prone to misogyny, to assist men in understanding how their personal history and social norms contribute to misogyny and gender-based violence. These protagonists also help us create contextually appropriate content to share on the hecareza social media platforms.
As the project’s reach unfolds, we are able to collaborate with more and more protagonists to help shift mindsets and reduce misogyny and GBV. This project is ongoing and through this long-term process we are investigating and experimenting with existing technologies and establishing how best this tech can be used to effectively promote social cohesion and justice. As we continue with this crucial social experiment, we are developing methodology that will be expanded to other social prejudice contexts. The project’s results and learnings will be published by end of 2020.