Ideathon 2016

On Tuesday 29 November 2016 we held our HeForShe Global Ideathon where we asked, "How can we tackle gender violence on campus?".

A key issue that HeForShe is focused on is ending violence on campuses worldwide. For the most part, the university experience will be a safe, welcoming environment but incidents do occur on campuses worldwide and, as a HeForShe IMPACT Champion, the University of Leicester at the forefront of making change and tackling serious issues. According to YouthSight 2015, one in three female students and one in eight male students have been sexually assaulted or abused on university campuses in the UK.

If you are a victim of gender-based violence at the University, there is a range of support available.

We asked six men and five women from the University community to explain what they understand gender-based violence to be. You can watch this video to find out what they thought.

By 'gender violence', we mean more than just physical assault. The term encompasses all types of gender-related bullying and intimidation, some of which may be seen by the perpetrator as merely 'joking'. Gender violence can be verbal as well as physical, or can take place online. Men can be victims as well as women. None of it is acceptable, so what can we, as a University, do to reduce and ultimately eliminate this from campus?

We know that the best solutions to some of the greatest issues young people face will be voiced by students themselves. So how would you tackle gender violence on campus?

As a HeForShe IMPACT Champion, we hosted an Ideathon in order to come up with ways to tackle gender violence on campus. The three most compelling of these would then be shared with UN Women and contribute towards a global toolkit of solutions to address this issue.

The launch invited students to:

  • talk to us about gender equality and gender violence outside the Library at our HeForShe stall
  • submit ideas for change in the suggestion box
  • make a HeForShe commitment by leaving a painted hand print with a message on our huge collage

Our Global Ideathon took place in the Council Suite of the Fielding Johnson Building. Participants were grouped around tables, each with a facilitator who helped to develop ideas on tackling gender violence which were then presented to the room. The session ran for 90 minutes.

After looking at all the suggestions from both parts of the day, we picked the best five to pitch to a 'Dragons' Den'-style panel of senior University management, including the President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle, who would then select three to pitch directly to UN Women via a short video.

caravan theatre

The pitches

  • Eleanor pitched for the introduction of a Bystander App that enables student to report worrying situations via their mobile phone 
  • Sadie suggested using theatre productions on campus to highlight gender based violence and encourage discussion 
  • PhD student Selcuk suggested using visual art, such as paintings and sculptures, to portray real life experiences of gender based violence 

We are currently working on implementing all three ideas that were pitched to UN Women. 

The Caravan Theatre joined us during Welcome Week where they hosted 10 minute theatre productions on gender, equality and every day sexism. Hundreds of students watched the short play and the feedback was very positive.

Local playwright Natalie Beech has written a play for us to support our HeForShe commitment. ‘Quiet Earthquakes’ was be shown in 4 locations on campus.

We have also commissioned local artist Daniel Fountain to produce a series of art work that explores themes around gender violence and equality.