Ladies and Gentlemen,
My name is Giovanna Martelli and I am the Gender Equality Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Italy.
I wish to begin by thanking the speakers who are here next to me, in particular the representatives of UN Women, Japan, Poland, and the European Commission.
For me it is a great pleasure and an honor to meet and to see so many of you at this event, which seeks to promote a constructive dialogue on the issue of violence against women and the gender stereotypes on which it is based.
I am convinced that the problem of violence against women is mainly a cultural problem. In the past few years, in fact, Italy has adopted a new approach to the prevention of and fight against this phenomenon. An approach that uses official government communications as a powerful means of raising awareness in order to reach the greatest possible number of stakeholders and contribute actively to accelerating the necessary cultural change and investing with responsibility the community as whole.
Over the years Italy has made the prevention of all forms of violence against women a hallmark of its political program, through the allocation of significant resources to the implementation of a broad array of inclusive projects aimed mainly at increasing perception of the phenomenon. In our Country, many awareness campaigns on the issue of gender-based violence have been waged in the past, but the language they used primarily targeted women.
The main targets of the #THINGSMENDO campaign, which we are delighted to present in this prestigious forum, are instead men and boys of all ages. It chooses not to address violence as an out-of-the-ordinary phenomenon, as an extreme act, but it addresses instead what happens before the extreme act, the ordinary culture within which the act is born and enabled. A culture that belongs to all men and governs attitudes and behavior toward women at every age and in every type of relationship.
The message of the campaign is thus more complex and innovative than those traditionally assigned to initiatives of this type. The campaign does not want to point a finger at violent men, conveying messages of stigmatization or repression. It does not want to divide the world into good and bad men, men who defend women and men who mistreat them, knights who protect them and monsters who kill them. It instead wishes to show gender stereotypes that, in the everyday lives of all men, influence their relationships with women, trapping them into frustrating attitudes and behaviors, and are therefore potential generators of violence. To free men from these cultural traps, the campaign proposes alternative models of behavior that are not only fair toward women but also more gratifying to men.
In order to reach younger age groups, the choice was made to use the internet as the means and the series as the narrative form of the campaign, which is available in English at the website www.cosedauomini.eu.
I will end my remarks here to allow time to see the trailer and two of the five episodes of the campaign, and for the discussion that I know will ensue with our illustrious guests, who I thank once again for being here with us.
My best wishes for you all to enjoy the film and the discussion.