Manchester’s local government has launched a new publicly-funded podcast series as part of Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham’s #IsThisOK? campaign, which aims to tackle gender-based violence and challenge behaviours towards women in public spaces.
The three-part podcast series, which takes its name from the campaign, is hosted by writer and journalist Nooruddean Choudry. Each episode features the host in conversation with a number of men from the Greater Manchester area about unacceptable behaviours that women face in public and how they could tackle them.
“Hearing men talk to each other about these issues in this podcast series feels like a fitting addition to what has been an invaluable piece of work through the #IsThisOK? campaign,” said Burnham. “I’m really pleased that through our campaign alone since 2021, findings from our survey suggest that over half of men aged 18-35 in Greater Manchester have been reached. There is much more to do, but #IsThisOK? has played a big part in beginning to change behaviours to make Greater Manchester a safer place for all.”
“This is clearly an issue which overwhelmingly affects women in our community, but it's unfair for the onus to be on women to find a solution,” said Choudry. “If women had the power to solve the problem, it would already be solved. Men need to take responsibility and feel empowered - both to question their own behaviour and to challenge the bad behaviour they see in others.”
The #IsThisOK? campaign is part of Manchester’s wider 10-year gender-based violence strategy which it first announced in September 2021 following the murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard earlier that year. The campaign has received £150,000 in funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).
Since its launch, the campaign has published a video on sexual harassment in December 2021 which garnered more than 5.3 million views, won multiple awards including Best Public Sector campaign at the CIPR Awards, commissioned a survey to measure the impact of the campaign on men aged 18-35, and released several other adverts and hosted workshops.
“This podcast series really highlights the power of the conversation and I hope it inspires men and boys to talk to each other about how women and girls are treated, ask #IsThisOK? and be empowered to challenge others,” said deputy mayor for policing, crime, criminal justice and fire, Kate Green. “#IsThisOK? is very much part of our wider work to deliver Greater Manchester’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy.”
“The 10-year plan is working to tackle gender-based violence across the city-region, and we are two years into delivering on its aims and remain committed to tackling all forms of gender-based violence and the attitudes that underpin it.”