The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has today launched a major new campaign to empower men and boys to say ‘Maaate’ to their mates as a means of challenging sexism and misogyny in society.
The innovative campaign aims to help men and boys confidently step-in when they witness language and behaviour towards women and girls that crosses the line.
This is part of the Mayor’s refreshed strategy to tackle violence against women and girls (VAWG) that champions a public health approach, encouraging all of society to play their part and putting the onus of responsibility on men and boys to change the way they perceive, treat and talk about women.
The action comes as a ground-breaking new study commissioned by the Mayor revealed the factors that prevent men and boys from intervening when they hear sexist or misogynistic language. It found that:
- Two in three men want to step-in but don’t know what to say and this was a barrier to them taking action.
- One in four men in London aged 19 to 34 regret not calling out a friend or family member for being misogynistic.
- The research also found that shaming friends is not an effective strategy and the most effective way to challenge inappropriate behaviour is from a place of respect for the friendship.
The Mayor has teamed up with world-leading behavioural scientists to develop a simple intervention to empower men to step in when needed. ‘Maaate’ is the small and familiar word chosen to make a big difference and support men and boys in challenging the sexist behaviours and misogynistic attitudes that can lead to women feeling unsafe and being at risk of male violence.
The Mayor is clear that when it comes to ending violence against women and girls, men and boys must be the champions of change. To help illustrate that, the Mayor today joined comedian Romesh Ranganathan, social media activist Max Selwood and anti-VAWG campaigners at a café in Central London to demonstrate the vital need to call out misogyny and sexism in everyday settings – where these important conversations urgently need to be had.
As part of the launch, the ‘Maaate’ campaign slogan was displayed on the world-famous Piccadilly lights in the heart of the West End today to spread the message to everyone that words matter and we all have a part to play in challenging misogyny.
As part of the new campaign, the Mayor has today released a new interactive short film that can be used as a tool to help determine when, where and how to call out inappropriate language. The interactive short depicts a conversation between a group of twentysomething men and adopts the style of a choose-your-own ending game. Its immersive design provides viewers with the opportunity to intervene – by clicking ‘Maaate’ when they think the language used about women and girls crosses the line. Results from the study commissioned by the Mayor have shown that more than two thirds of men said that they felt more confident in calling out sexist and misogynistic language after they had watched the film.
This latest call to action builds on the success of the Mayor’s multi-award winning #HaveAWord campaign which launched last year and called on men to “have a word” with themselves and then their mates. The campaign’s video has been viewed over 15 million times and polling has shown that 85 per cent of men who have viewed the video said they would call out misogynistic behaviour if they see it. This new initiative – ‘Say Maate to a mate’, gives men the word to say.
Since last year, the Mayor’s ‘allyship training’ package of resources has been made available to every secondary school in London. The educational assets have been used to support teachers and mentors to lead workshops that educate and empower young Londoners to take a stand and help prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG).
This activity is all part of the Mayor’s public health approach which is working to unite partners across London to tackle VAWG, provide support to women and girls and help educate all Londoners, including young men and boys, about the danger posed by misogynistic attitudes and behaviours.
This intervention by the Mayor comes as a survey by UN Women found that 97 per cent of women aged 18-24 in the UK said they had been sexually harassed, with 80 per cent reporting experiencing sexual harassment in public spaces. New figures from research carried out by LADbible Group, official media partner for the ‘Maaate’ campaign, also found that 85 per cent of women they spoke to have been a victim of sexual harassment and 82 per cent had experienced casual sexism.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “My new campaign recognises that male violence against women and girls often starts with words. That’s why I’m determined to ensure that men and boys feel empowered to call out their mates when their behaviour crosses the line.
“Maaate’ is a simple and effective intervention that can help stop problematic language and behaviour in its tracks.
“Last year I urged men and boys to challenge sexist behaviour and misogynistic attitudes with my award-winning ‘Have A Word’ campaign. Now, we’re giving them the word to say.
“It is only by ensuring that women and girls are both protected and respected that we can continue to build a better, safer London for everyone.”
Comedian and supporter of the ‘Maaate’ campaign, Romesh Ranganathan, said: “I’m backing this campaign because we can no longer allow sexism and misogyny to be dismissed as ‘banter.’
“By asking men and boys to say ‘maaate’ to a mate we can be better friends to each other and better allies to women and girls.
“As men, we have a responsibility to work together to stop sexist and misogynistic behaviour. Whether it’s in the classroom, the boardroom or onstage, everyone deserves to be treated with respect.”