This report released by the White Ribbon Foundation examines the role of workplaces, and men
in workplaces in particular, in preventing men’s violence against women.
The report begins by noting that men’s violence against women is a widespread social problem
which requires urgent action. It highlights the need for preventative measures oriented to
changing the social and structural conditions at the root of this violence, including through
settings such as workplaces.
Men’s violence against women is a workplace issue. As well as being a blunt infringement of
women’s rights, this violence imposes very substantial health and economic costs on workplaces
If we are how to address how workplaces can be part of the solution, we must first address how
they are part of the problem, in three ways. First, workplace gender inequalities – including
unfair divisions of labour and power and norms of male dominance – contribute to women’s
economic and social disadvantage and men’s privilege. Workplaces thus can intensify the wider
gender inequalities in which violence against women flourishes. Second, the cultures of some
workplaces encourage and institutionalise violence-supportive social norms. Women in these
institutions or in contact with their members face greater greater risks of victimisation, and the
male members are more likely than other men to tolerate and perpetrate violence. Third,
workforces can contribute to violence against women through the ways in which they respond to
employees who are victims of violence or its perpetrators.
Workplaces are increasingly prominent sites for violence prevention and intervention. While
most strategies focus on responses to victimisation, a growing number of companies and
organisations also engage in activities designed to prevent men’s violence against women. For
example, in Australia, a recent workplace pilot study has been implemented by White Ribbon
Australia. This Workplace Accreditation project identifies a range of criteria for workplaces to
meet in order to qualify as a White Ribbon Australia Accredited workplace.
If the workplace is to have a real impact on preventing men’s violence against women, then
efforts in part must address men. There are at seven overlapping strategies through which men at
work can be engaged in change.
1. Through face-to-face educational programs and social marketing, workplace-based
strategies can raise men’s awareness of issues of gender inequality in general or men’s
violence against women in particular.