Jesuit Social Services recently contributed a submission to Victoria’s Gender Equality Strategy 2022. The Strategy builds on the 2016 Gender Equality Strategy, which provided an important foundation to break the cycle of family violence.

Our feedback to the Strategy is based on our experience of working with men and boys for over 40 years, many of whom use violence and hold harmful attitudes towards girls, women and gender diverse people.

Jesuit Social Services’ key priorities, within our gender justice focus area, are to promote positive social change surrounding masculinities, reduce male violence and harmful behaviours, keep families and communities safe and improve men’s wellbeing and relationships.

On the whole, Jesuit Social Services supports the proposed approach of the new Strategy, particularly its whole-of-government focus and overarching commitment of targeted investment and reform to advance gender equality.

In our submission, we highlight some of the issues we have observed under the Strategy’s key pillars of safety, health and wellbeing, and leadership and representation. We make recommendations to ensure the refreshed Strategy:

  • Engages men and boys constructively in working towards gender equality
  • Achieves cultural change
  • Adequately prioritises primary prevention
  • Provides long term funding and commitment to raise awareness of, and shift, harmful masculine norms
  • Includes specific strategies to engage role models and build workforce capacity in promoting healthy and positive expressions of masculinity.