Giving Compass’ Take:
• Annie Neimand explains how advocates and organizations can work to ensure the #MeToo moment becomes a movement with lasting impact.
• How can funders support work that is already being done at the grassroots level? Which industries and organizations are in the greatest need of an overhaul?
Social institutions—like government, media, education and religion—shape our perception of what is socially accepted and what is not. Culture wars regularly take place over the values and norms of a society, including how organizations respond to reports of sexual violence.
To change norms around sexual assault, institutional policy and culture must change. For example, The New York Times reported an increase in sexual assault allegations on university campuses as a result of the movement. One woman told the paper, “I was just inspired by all the women coming forward about Harvey Weinstein … People are believing these women. Maybe they’ll believe me too.” One university created a task force to address sexual assault on campus, the accused at several universities are being investigated, and universities that do not respond are being called out. However, it is important to note that some victims are still silenced, intimated, and ostracized on campus by their social groups, which may stop them from reporting incidents to their university. Targeting the social norms of particular identity-based groups, along with changing institutional norms and policy, could be the push needed to create lasting change on campus.
Social change is possible when we design it to use the best of what we know from science. Doing so can help create new belief and behavior norms critical for sustaining change. To ensure that #MeToo does not lose momentum, advocates and organizations should leverage social identities, social groups, and social institutions to enforce this new and incredibly important social norm.
Read the full article about the lasting influence of #metoo by Annie Neimand at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
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