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We need this to do things differently


Following a recommendation made by the First Minister’s National Advisory Council for Women and Girls (NACWG) that the Scottish Government should develop a new institute to “develop and test robust, evidence-led, inclusive and representative approaches to changing public attitudes in Scotland to girls’ and women’s equality and rights”. Zero Tolerance was commissioned and funded by the Scottish Government to develop a framework for what an organisation to change public attitudes in Scotland to girls and women’s equality and rights will look like.

This new report “We need this to do things differently” provides ground breaking insight into what is most needed to tackle harmful social, cultural and gendered norms that fuel the root cause of violence against women - gender inequality. It provides a framework for a new, inclusive and intersectional organisation to transform attitudes towards women and girls and promote gender equality in Scotland.

The strong overarching message emerging from the research is that strengthening gender equality requires a long-term, sustained and collaborative effort to change social attitudes towards women and girls.

The research recommends three potential models for a new organisation - with a mission to address harmful gender norms and facilitate a long-term shift in public attitudes towards women’s and girls’ rights and equality.

The new organisation will build on the strong foundations laid by Scotland's Equally Safe Strategy, the recent work of the First Minister’s National Advisory Council on Women and Girls and the decades of work of feminist organisations working to change attitudes, affect culture change, end violence against women and achieve equality for women and girls.

As a BAME women I'm confident that this research ushers in yet another big step towards achieving equality for women and girls in Scotland. I applaud the efforts made to get us this far and welcome the findings and recommendations made. - Mildred Zimunya, Member of Research Advisory Group

Women and girls across Scotland continue to experience abuse and violence on account of attitudes held about how we should look, what we should say and how we should behave. Zero Tolerance is pleased to have worked with the Collective to create further evidence on what needs to happen to tackle these attitudes in Scotland. We look forward to working with partners to realise its recommendations – we need this to do things differently. - Rachel Adamson, Co-director of Zero Tolerance

I welcome this research, funded by the Scottish Government, which provides innovative thinking on how we can transform attitudes towards women and girls and increase gender equality. Gender equality is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s vision for a fairer Scotland, one where women and girls have and are empowered to exercise equal rights and opportunities, have equitable access to economic resources and decision making, and live their lives free from all forms of violence, abuse and harassment. I am grateful to Zero Tolerance and the Collective for their work. We will continue to work with the women’s sector in Scotland and to implement long-lasting change through this project. - Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Equalities Secretary

This research project was an opportunity to reflect on how to best challenge and improve attitudes towards women and girls in Scotland. What we found through local and international comparisons was a need to redistribute change-making power and for this work to be led by communities on the ground. We hope this research takes us a step closer to creating a fairer Scotland for women and girls. - Talat Yaqoob, Researcher, The Collective


About the Collective Scotland

The consultant team of Ellie Hutchinson, Kate Nevens and Talat Yaqoob have over 35 years of combined experience in gender equality research and practice, and have strong connections and networks in the third sector, government and communities across Scotland and internationally. Their careers span across poverty, housing, international development, peace, employment rights, widening access to education, feminist policy and violence against women. They will be assessing and taking learning through a feminist lens from public attitude efforts from a range of social policy areas, along with work focused on women’s equality by the feminist movement and women’s organisations.

About Research Advisory Group (RAG)

The objective of the Research Advisory Group (RAG) was to advise on the direction of the research and help develop ideas based on perspectives and background knowledge, as individuals and as a group.

Our Research Advisory Group Members included:

Gillian Achurch - Scottish Government, Karen Boyle - University of Strathclyde, Ima Jackson - Glasgow Caledonian University, Brenna Jessie - Rape Crisis Scotland , Naomi McAuliffe – Amnesty International , Thekla Morgenroth - University of Exeter, Susan Reid - ScotCen Research Director , Emma Ritch - Engender, Marsha Scott - Scottish Women’s Aid, Anitha Sundari - University of Lincoln , Judy Wasige - Glasgow Caledonian University , Mildred Zimunya – Independent

If you would like to be informed about future opportunities to work with Zero Tolerance please complete this form.

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