Welcome to part two of our Inspirational Interview with Brynhildur Heiðar- og Ómarsdóttir, Managing Director of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association.
In this part of the interview, Brynhildur talks about how to engage men and boys, how to interrupt revenge porn, and how IWRA helped to change the curriculum in schools to include feminism and gender studies and their campaign to make it an integrated part of studies for every student in Iceland.
Part one of Brynhildur’s interview posted on 29, October 2017.
All pictures are courtesy of the Icelandic Women’s Rights Association.
6. What can the average person on the internet do to help stop online violence against women when they come across it?
Don’t share the content! And see if you can report the website to relevant authorities. In some countries, it is possible to report the website to the police. In other countries, NGO’s have been founded to specifically work against online violence.
7. What do you think men and boys can do to help end violence against women?
The first step men and boys should take to help end violence against women is to admit to themselves that violence against women is real and that perpetrators are often men. It is not enough for men to disavow this violence, using hashtags such as #notallmen to remove themselves from this conversation.
Men need to stand up, admit that men commit violence against women, and realise that it is up to men themselves to stop this violence. Speak up and be an ally!
8. Tell us about IWRA’s plans for the future. What campaigns, programmes, or projects do you have coming up in the next 5 years?
One of IWRA’s most important campaigns in the coming years is to ensure that gender studies is taught at every high school in Iceland. In the past ten years, a revolution has taken place in Iceland, led by teachers and students. Teachers began offering gender studies and feminism as an optional course in one high school in 2007, and now, ten years later, 75% of Icelandic high schools have added gender studies to their curriculum. In a quarter of them, gender studies is now a mandatory subject. These classes have had a profound effect on students, creating engaged and feminist citizens! What we at IWRA want to do is to change the national curriculum and standards, to make sure that gender studies is a mandatory subject for every single high school student in Iceland.
9. How can The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with and support IWRA’s efforts to stop violence against women?
You can support our efforts to stop violence against women by supporting your local women’s movement. Become active in an organisation in your neighborhood. Women’s shelters and counselling centers for victims of violence are found in most communities and most, if not all, are in need of support. Volunteer your time at a local shelter. Give food, clothing, furniture, serve on the board of directors. And give money! These organisations need your financial support!
10. In your considered opinion, how can we end violence against women for good?
Together! We only can end violence by working together, by listening to each other, helping each other, and respecting each other. We need to speak out forcefully against violence of any kind, and we need to teach our children about gender equality and human rights in schools. Most importantly, we need to support the victims of violence, to ensure that survivors have easy access to psychological and legal aid. But we also need to find ways to rehabilitate perpetrators of violence, to incorporate them into society while making sure that they do not re-offend. Violence against women is such a massive social problem that it can only be solved by all of us, together.