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All we're asking is for a little respect

The UN’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence runs from Thursday 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to Friday 10 December, Human Rights Day.

During this time, Respect Victoria is running their Respect Women: ‘Call It Out’ campaign that encourages all Victorians to call out sexism, sexual harassment and disrespect towards women.

To help spread this important message, Bicycle Network asked 16 of our staff and board members what respect means to them as part of the bike riding community.

Get involved with the campaign

As part of the 16 Days of Activism, Respect Victoria encourages us all to take three simple steps towards a safe, equal and respectful future:

  1. Think about what respect means to you, and how it shows up in your home, relationships, workplace and community. What needs to change and how can you take action?
  2. Call out sexism, and other forms of discrimination when you see or hear them, if it's safe to do so. Keep reading for some useful tips on calling it out.
  3. Set the right example when it comes to gender equality. This might look like encouraging your workplace to take action on equality, talking to the kids in your life about gender stereotypes, or starting a conversation in your sports club or community group.

We know that sport and recreation at all levels, including bike riding, plays a key role in influencing attitudes around gender in the wider community. 

So we're putting the callout to all of our members and friends to help spread the respect we all deserve, and importantly, 'Call it Out' if you see others being disrespectful when you’re out riding.

The Call it Out campaign includes a list of 16 ways you can call out sexism and disrespect:

  1. Don't laugh at sexist jokes.
  2. Give a disapproving look to show a behaviour or statement is not okay. Shake your head or roll your eyes.
  3. Leave a pointed and uncomfortable silence
  4. Make a light hearted comment: "what century are you living in?"
  5. Check in with the person affected: "I heard what he just said - are you okay?"
  6. Privately let them know their behaviour is not okay: "The joke you made in yesterday's meeting was not funny, and actually not okay."
  7. Calmly disagree and state that the comment is wrong or unacceptable: "I know you probably didn't mean it, but I found what you said to be offensive."
  8. Speak up and educate by explaining why you disagree: "Actually evidence shows the vast majority of women do not make up false claims of sexual assault."
  9. Challenge the logic: "That's not my experience" or "what makes you think that?'
  10. Stand up for the person affected: "Michelle was saying something, and you cut her off again".
  11. Make eye contact with the person affected - let them know you're an ally.
  12. Show your emotion: "It actually makes me sad / uncomfortable when you say that."
  13. Support others when they call it out: "I agree, that's not funny".
  14. Appeal to their better self: "Come on, you're better than that".
  15. Report the behaviour to management, or via incident reporting systems if available.
  16. Disrupt or distract the situation to redirect the focus from the incident to someone else.

These tips come from the 16 Days of Activism toolkit.

You can learn more about Respect Victoria’s 16 Days of Activism 2021 here.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.