13. Challenge sexism in sport

Recent research shows that women and girls are keen to build their talent and improve their health and fitness through sport. But it remains difficult for women and girls to participate equally. Many women and girls struggle to find support to pursue it. Also, the sporting skills and ambitions of girls and women are often not taken seriously.

As this example shows, coverage of women’s sport is frequently sexist. This example shows that there is also often a greater focus on what women look like than what they can do.

Read this short explainer about some of the barriers to women’s equal participation in sport. Read this brilliant piece exploring sexism in sport, written by a year 12 student!

Watch this clip and this clip about the challenges girls and women face when pursuing the sports they love.

How does it help?

Through sports we can all learn more about fairness, inclusion, camaraderie and respect.

Sport offers health and community-strengthening benefits. It can also influence social attitudes and challenge gender stereotypes, roles and expectations.

By challenging sexism in sport, we can create inclusive, equitable, healthy and safe environments for women and men, girls and boys. This helps to prevent violence against women (Our Watch, 2015).

Keep going!

Find out more about what you can do to make sure that girls and women get a sporting chance, and to prevent violence against women through sport:


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.

14. Talk with a man in your life about healthy masculinity

Have a conversation with a male friend, family member or colleague about being a man and healthy masculinity.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Watch Tony Porter’s TED Talk A Call to Men together, and discuss what resonates with you.
  • Discuss how the media portrays the ideal man as someone who is rewarded for fighting, and who wins a woman as the prize. Reflect on how this might affect the health and wellbeing of both men and women.
  • Identify men who you think show a healthy masculinity. They might express emotions, be nurturing, be active fathers, take on non-traditional roles or tasks, have sex lives that are based on consent and mutual enjoyment. Discuss why you admire these men.

How does it help?

Men and boys regularly receive messages that to be a man or ‘manly’ they need to:

  • be physically strong, tough or aggressive
  • be dominant and in charge
  • show no emotions, particularly fear, hurt or pain
  • achieve sexual conquest over women.

Research shows that ‘levels of violence against women are significantly and consistently higher in societies, communities and relationships where there are more rigid distinctions between the roles of men and women’ (Our Watch, 2015: 25).

Research also shows that ‘men who hold traditional, hierarchical views about gender roles and relationships are more likely to perpetrate violence against women’ (Our Watch, 2015: 25).

Promoting healthy, alternative and diverse masculinities is important for preventing men’s violence against women.

Keep going!

Keep the conversation going about healthy masculinity with the men in your life:

  • Watch the film The Mask You Live In about harmful masculinity and gender stereotypes for men. Share this with male friends, family members or colleagues.
  • Call out statements from men that support harmful, aggressive or controlling ideas about masculinity.

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.

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.

16. Question the advantages men experience because of their gender

As a group, men receive various advantages because of their gender. This is called ‘male privilege’. Read this checklist and reflect on how men benefit from gender-based inequality.

How does it help?

Male privilege is a key aspect of gender inequality, and relates to men’s violence against women. Men have been socialised to expect certain things from women, and to have the right to control them. Male privilege justifies and enables men’s violence against women.

Keep going!

You can continue to reflect on and challenge male privilege:


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.