This approach is an important step forward in the public conversation about how we make society safe for everyone, however it runs a risk of fostering a blame culture, against men and boys in schools.
This silences young men and boys and closes vital dialogue that would support the reduction of VAWG. Misogyny is endemic within society, and this plays out in male dominated workforces – as can be seen in the London Fire Service Culture Report and the reports into the MET Police. The way to tackle this with young men and boys is to listen to them. It is also vital that young women and girls feel heard – but to do this all genders must work together. Compartmentalising and ‘othering’ boys could risk making situations worse for all genders and reinforcing a binary, ‘us vs them’ dichotomy.
Women and girls certainly do not benefit from the patriarchal structures in society where misogyny plays out. But the reality is that neither do young men and boys. These issues need to be unpicked in safe environments across all genders. Whilst there is still a long way to go, great strides have been made in Britain for young women and girls. Young men and boys need to be on that journey as well. To date this has not happened to any great length – which is why we see extreme push back with misogyny.
No gender is winning now. Misogyny and VAWG is rising and there is a male mental health crisis. As a society we need to take a step back and realise that we are all in this together – having this as the starting point will allow for valuable conversations and actions to emerge.