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Zero Tolerance 1992 Campaign: The Legacy

Maria Sofou, a student in Gender Studies at Stirling University, has been researching our archives and finding out more about our 1992 campaign.

The way that the Zero Tolerance campaign successfully framed the gendered nature of violence was part of the reason it was so innovative. It began from the premise that men are the predominantly the perpetrators of sexual assault and child abuse, and women and children are usually the targets of such violence. the campaign shifted the discussion from something that was deemed private, and the woman’s responsibility, to calling on all men to assume responsibility and end all violence. However, successfully challenging the dominant discourse of the time, by articulating a counter-hegemonic understanding of men’s sexual violence against women and children, was not the campaign’s sole legacy.

Mad Men can change the world

By Susan Murray, Zero Tolerance Co-director

You can’t beat a powerful advertising campaign. They have the potential to make you stop, reflect, change your perceptions or buying habits. However, in this world of mass media, it’s harder to get messages heard above the noise.

Feminist Festival Guide

By Jenny Lester, Zero Tolerance Project Support Intern

The BBC reported last week that there has been a surge in shows about “social issues” this Edinburgh Fringe. Sadly, the Fringe guide does not allow you to search for shows with the criteria, “must be feminist”, so, we’ve put together a handy guide to finding interesting, entertaining, and thought-provoking feminist performances this Fringe and book festival!

Profile pictures of six women

Zero Tolerance 1992 Campaign: Political and Media Response

A vital part of Zero Tolerance’s original campaign’s success was the overwhelmingly positive political and media response it received at the time of its launch, allowing for widespread diffusion of its radical message.

Spotlight on Scottish Media: who makes the news?

This March, our intern Jenny is blogging about the results of her media monitoring study. She’s been scanning Scottish newspapers for stories about violence against women to get an idea about the state of media reporting in Scotland. Read her first, second and third blog in the series.

In 57 articles about rape, domestic abuse, violence, and murder, only 7 were written by a named woman. This was one of the more disappointing findings from the media monitoring project I have undertaken for Zero Tolerance. From week beginning the 29th of January I bought nine major newspapers (the Scottish Sun, Scottish Daily Mirror, the Scottish Times, Scottish Daily Mail, the Scotsman, the Scottish Herald, the Scottish Daily Express, the Scottish Telegraph, the Guardian) to analyse the coverage of violence against women in the Scottish press. I’ve split the findings into four blogs; the first one discusses the what the stories were about - a quantitative analysis of the content of the 59 stories. The second is about the language used in the stories. The third covers whose side the stories were on. And this fourth and final blog is about the breakdown of the gender of the author of the stories.

It is difficult to be exact when reporting the amount of stories that were written by women, as many newspapers run stories with no name attributed to them. However, even when those are taken in to consideration, the results are concerning. Only 12.7% of the stories were written by women, with 54.4% being written by men (the further 12.3% having no specified author). 6 of the 9 papers had absolutely no stories about violence against women written by named women - the Scottish Sun, the Times, The Scotsman, the Herald, and the Daily Express. Only 2 papers - The Daily Mail and the Guardian - achieved gender equity with a 50/50 split of gender of authors of stories of violence against women. (See below for full statistics).

It is difficult to achieve gender parity of story authorship without gender parity of staff. Last year Engender reported that, in Scotland, 0% editors of major newspapers are women, and only 8.3% of political editors at major newspapers are women. (Read more: Sex & Power in Scotland 2017) Women’s representation in newsrooms inevitably affects women’s representation in the news. The lack of women authors in these stories could go some way to explaining the poor reporting covered in these blogs. Women are stereotyped, demonised, blamed, and not trusted by the narratives presented. Their experiences are being explained and framed from a male perspective, and the representation we currently see is disempowering and problematic. We need women journalists and editors covering stories of violence against women to properly counteract this.

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