Direct participation programs involve face-to-face engagement with individuals or groups. These programs provide participants with the skills and confidence to examine their own beliefs and behaviours and to adopt ones that are more supportive of respect and gender equality.
These programs are particularly effective when they are implemented as part of broader organisational change processes, such as those in schools or workplaces.
Types of direct participation activity
Respectful relationships education
Teach children and young people about gender relations and how to build respectful, non-violent relationships, through age-appropriate curriculum.
At a key time of life transition, these programs can promote positive, respectful and equitable parenting practices, challenge gender stereotypes about parenting and encourage healthy and safe family environments.
Peer or group education programs
Support participants to question sexist beliefs and behaviours in their social group and promote gender equality and respect.
Women’s economic empowerment initiatives
Build women’s financial literacy or ability to seek employment, or address aspects of women’s economic disadvantage.
Arts and cultural groups
Produce exhibitions or performances that promote gender equality and challenge rigid gender stereotypes.
Includes training on the gendered nature of violence, discrimination and inequality, and how violence can be prevented.
Good practice principles
- Run programs with multiple sessions, over time, to reinforce changes to attitudes and behaviours.
- Implement direct participation actions as part of broader, ongoing programs and engagement in a community or organisation.
- Include interactive elements in your program that require participants to actively engage with the content and the opportunity to practise the skills and knowledge they learn.
- Adapt existing resources and tailor them to meet the needs and context of your participants.
- Ensure program facilitators have appropriate expertise.
- Take care that programs with male facilitators do not unintentionally replicate gender inequality by putting men in positions of power or control over women.
- Ensure content recognises diversity in your group, including different cultural and linguistic backgrounds and accessibility needs.
Programs to skill up in direct participation
A leadership program on how to stand up for gender equality
MATE is a leadership program from Griffith University that aims to provide participants with the skills and knowledge to stand up to situations of violence, sexism, gender inequality and disrespect.
Skill up in prevention work with diverse communities
This AMES program equips participants with a range of prevention strategies and approaches for working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
- A guide to creating projects that work with men to prevent violence against women
The Working Together with Men resource from HealthWest Partnership is a guide to creating projects that work with men to prevent violence against women in their communities.