Research at both the national and international level reveals that gender inequality is an underlying cause of violence. Gender-based violence is defined as violence directed at an individual based on biological sex, gender identity or socially defined norms of masculinity and femininity. Gender-based violence disproportionately affects women, as well as those who identify as LGBTIQA+, women of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait background or those with a disability.
Treating both genders equally is the core solution, and respect is a fundamental aspect of gender equality. As a society, we have allowed for disrespect towards women and gender diverse peoples, and to their rights to independence and equal status, but the shift toward positive change is occurring, and you can be a part of the solution.
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There are students from about 104 different cultures on campus at La Trobe University, giving you a great opportunity to learn from and appreciate other cultures and beliefs.
Cultural differences are inevitable, but showing respect and understanding to people of all cultures is an important part of being an open-minded and global citizen.
Use the dropdown menu below to increase your own sense of cultural awareness.
Begin with an awareness that your culture is no more valuable or correct than anyone else’s. Spend some time reflecting on your own beliefs and biases, which can help you appreciate other cultural differences.
Expand your knowledge and raise cultural awareness by:
For example, making eye contact with someone may represent respect in one culture and disrespect in another. Travelling to other countries is another fantastic cultural experience. Learn more about other religions, e.g. visit a mosque or a synagogue.
While you may tend to gravitate to people who share your culture, you should take advantage of the opportunity while at university to mix with people of different cultures and to learn about their customs and beliefs. Make an effort to have conversations with people from other cultures. Listen to their stories and experiences, without being critical or judgmental. Ask questions and take a genuine interest in what it means to be from another culture. This will not only help you to broaden your worldview, but also help you to show respect for cultural differences when they arise.
It is important to realise that not everyone from a particular culture or religion is the same. There are many different customs within cultures and religion can be practiced differently between countries/regions. Regardless of background, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other factor, every individual thinks differently. Treat everyone you meet as an individual; don’t prejudge or make assumptions and show them the same respect you would show to anyone else.
There is so much to gain from celebrating our differences. The world would be so mundane if we were all the same and we are lucky enough to benefit from a wide variety of different cultures. Think about all the fantastic food, movies, music, festivals, and cultural events that come from cultures different from your own.
Unfortunately, racism still exists in Australia. It affects those who have been targeted and can cause long term harm to mental health. To counter everyday racism, prepare yourself so you know what to do and how to act when you hear a racist joke/comment or come across a racist incident. It will depend on the circumstances on what is safe to do, but there are ways you can act. Here are some examples:
confront what has been said by asking an open question such as “why do you think that?”, or “why do you think that’s funny?”.
Some examples of everyday racism and how to intervene:
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