Middlesex University’s initiative to help students learn about misogyny and sexism

Last week, Middlesex University launched a week-long series of events to tackle every day forms of misogyny and sexism.

The #HearMyVoice campaign involved an exhibition of work from film, animation and graphic design students, workshops with secondary schools and local community partners, and a panel discussion on supporting students into employment in the creative industries post #MeToo.

The campaign aims to highlight and tackle misogyny, violence against women and girls, and domestic abuse. The latest campaign focuses on subtle and ‘low-level’ forms of misogyny and sexism.

Dr Helen Bendon, interim head of the film school at Middlesex University, said that the university particularly was to engagement men and boys to raise awakeners of ‘normalised misogyny’.

She added that universities have a crucial role to play in shifting attitudes around misogynistic and sexist behaviour.

Students learn about misogyny and harassment, working on projects exploring these issues and contributing to a safe and inclusive environment.

The series of events included 60 pupils taking part in workshops that helped them to understand and recognise misogynistic language and behaviours in their communities. Pupils designed their own campaigns and contributed an anti-misogyny toolkit for schools.

Guests were also provide information on tackling misogyny and violence against women and girls.

A performance by students studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts was followed by a walk to champion safer streets for women walking at night.

A panel discussion involving leading representatives from the screen industries focused on supporting and nurturing new entrants into the screen and film industries post #MeToo.

Ben Serlin, senior safeguarding project manager at Middlesex University who co-leads the campaign, said: “Schools tell us that they are concerned about how some boys speak to female staff and fellow pupils and how this can be fuelled by online influencers.

“We are very interested in increasing awareness among younger age groups that what they might regard as ‘harmless banter’ amounts to misogynistic language and behaviour, and how we can change that culture.”

The London Borough of Barnet launched the initiative with Middlesex University, and schools in the surrounding areas took part.

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