« Have a word » : London launches a campaign to combat the harassment of women in the street
The 14th of March, the City of London launched an awareness-raising campaign that encourages men to step up and call out their mates when they sexually harass a woman or make sexist jokes or ‘banter’ about a woman.
“Have a word with yourself, then with your mates”
The communication campaign, entitled “Have a word”, revolves around a 1 minute 52 second video spot. The spot focuses on a man’s reaction when one of his friends harasses a women who is waiting for a taxi. Initially embarrassed by this behaviour, he then finds himself in front of his mirror, calling himself into question before finally telling his mate to stop. “Male violence against women and girls starts with words. If you see it happening, have a word with yourself. Then your mates,” says a voice-over.
The video links to the operation’s page on the City of London website, where viewers can sign-up to pledge their commitment to becoming a better ally to women and girls, along with an explanation of what constitutes problematic behaviour, and answers to common questions about harassment in the street.
The campaign is being posted on billboards throughout the capital and on social media websites, and, for the first time ever, was broadcast at half-time during a football match. Several English clubs, along with a number of associations fighting for women’s rights or combating violence against women have praised the campaign, which bolsters the city council’s action on the issue.
In France, the government conducted a similar campaign in 2015 on sexist harassment in public transport. Public transport networks are taking up the cause and running campaigns at local level : the city of Lyon’s public transport company, Sytral Mobilités, is a recent example.