15. Challenge sexist jokes, comments and attitudes

When people make sexist or degrading comments or jokes about women, it can be hard to speak up. We might tell ourselves that it is ‘just words’ or ‘just a bit of fun’. But research shows that these jokes, comments and attitudes actually drive violence against women.

The people who make these comments may not be violent. But this kind of disrespect still contributes to gender inequality.

Here are some actions you can take to learn more and to challenge everyday sexism:

  • Try this informative quiz, How Would You Call Out a Mate?
  • Check out a few short videos from Our Watch’s ‘Doing Nothing Does Harm’ campaign.
  • Laura Bates is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. Listen to her talk about how important it is to recognise and redress sexism.
  • Check out Respect Victoria’s Respect Women: Call it Out campaign. This campaign is designed to bring all Victorians into the conversation around sexual harassment by providing the tools to call out inappropriate behaviours.

How does it help?

Evidence shows that disrespect towards women is a key driver of men’s violence against them. It also tells us that to prevent men’s violence against women, we must:

  • challenge sexist or gendered stereotypes
  • strengthen equal, respectful and positive relationships between men and women.

Challenging everyday sexism is essential to create the cultural change needed to end violence against women.

Keep going!

You can use these video resources as a conversation starter in your workplace or organisation about bystander action.

Display this poster at your work, school or community space to help people understand the link between sexist comments and violence against women. You can also display this poster to help others understand the actions they can take to reduce sexism, promote gender equality and end violence against women.


Please note that these clips/articles contain information regarding the topics of sexism, gender inequality and violence against women. If you find the information distressing, please click through for information and support on self care. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, please visit the our help section for further information and support.