Just under a year ago, after lighting City Hall in Cambridge red to support the end to violence against women, Mayor Doug Craig sat with Kim Decker and Megan Lambe of the YWCA Cambridge to figure out how to change his community for the better. To educate them on things he admitted he didn’t know enough about and to push the conversation about gender equity into the forefront. How? A conference called Equal Are We.
The target audience . . . everyone! The YWCA Cambridge believes that in order to create meaningful and sustainable change, we must involve EVERY member of the community, including and especially men. We need to partner with agencies that are also prioritizing these issues. We need to create spaces where we can ask difficult questions. Hold each other accountable for the ways we can personally do more to promote new maps for manhood that prioritize healthy masculinity, and normalize an attitude of intolerance about objectification of women and gendered violence.
These are big words and big concepts. Breaking it down we want people to share our vision for a community where everyone’s voice is equal.
Mayor Craig opened a door to talk about the issue of violence against women on a mass level, in a prevention based context, not to place blame but to collaborate on how we can all do better for the good of our community. When we talked about the concept and spoke to those we wanted involved it was easy to see why this was important to everyone. No one had doubts that talking about things like coaching men of character needed to be addressed. No one thought twice about presenting items like building equitable workforces or communities, and engaged fatherhood.
This does affect our community. We see the women and girls that this affects every day. We see women who are fighting to get back on their feet after leaving violent situations, as well as seeing young girls participating in science, technology, engineering and math programs for the first time in our Girls’ Centre. We all need to recognise violence against women and against girls as human rights violations, and a barrier to health and development. We all need to speak out against violence, and allocate the needed resources to prevent and respond to violence. Having the conversation is the first step.
So will you join us on November 25th and be part of the solution? Tickets available online now.