City Hall urges men to say ‘maaate’ to sexist friends

Sadiq Khan has launched a major new campaign urging men and boys to say ‘maaate’ to their mates as a way of challenging sexism and misogyny

By Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

A group of young men sit in a living room
A still from the video promoted as part of the mayor’s campaign

Sadiq Khan has launched a major new campaign urging men and boys to say ‘maaate’ to their friends as a way of challenging sexism and misogyny.

The latest phase of the mayor’s anti-misogyny campaign aims to help men and boys confidently step-in when they witness language and behaviour towards women and girls that crosses the line.

City Hall said it forms part of a “refreshed strategy to tackle violence against women and girls that champions a public health approach, encouraging all of society to play their part and putting the onus of responsibility on men and boys to change the way they perceive, treat and talk about women”.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service on Friday, Mr Khan said: “Unfortunately it’s still the case in 2023, in the greatest city in the world – the most progressive city in the world – that women on a regular basis suffer sexual harrassment, sexual abuse and violence.

“Across the country, every three days, a woman is killed at the hands of a man – that’s not on.

“So what this part of the campaign is about, is giving men the tools, the confidence, to check and challenge their friends – their mates – who may be acting inappropriately, in a sexist or misogynistic way.

“[There are] two things we’re doing – [one] is launching an interactive, immersive film, of twenty-something [year-old] men and you can see, in this roleplay if you like, what’s taking place.”

The video, launched on City Hall’s website, shows a group of men playing video games, with the viewer told to call out their conversation when it becomes disrespectful towards women, by clicking a button labelled ‘maaate’.

Mr Khan continued: “Separately, one of our country’s leading comedians, Romesh Ranganathan, has done a skit, using the word ‘mate’, to give people the tools, the word ‘mate’, in a respectful way, to challenge their mates, who are acting inappropriately.

“We’re hoping [that] changing people’s attitudes, changing men’s attitudes, will lead to that pipeline of men that can go on to do violence against women and girls, being reduced and then stopped.”

Research commissioned by the mayor has found that two in three men want to step-in when they see misogyny, but don’t know what to say, and this is a barrier to them taking action. It also found that one in four men in London aged 19 to 34 regret not calling out a friend or family member for being misogynistic.

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