Insa Birkenhagen discusses how non-profit organisation Empower Her* Voice is raising awareness on gender-based violence around Dublin.
‘When you homogenise experience it’s easier to disengage […] it has to hit home for people to understand the gravity of it’
Empower Her* Voice is a global, non-profit organisation, which was created in 2015 and raises awareness on gender-related marginalisation.
Within their work, they set a focus on the individual experience, rather than approaching the issue as a whole and depersonalise it. By ‘taking away the politics and expectations’, Empower Her* Voice offers a low-threshold for the public to empathise and understand the gravity of gender-related marginalisation. Through events and a variety of projects, they bring together artists, activists and academics to initiate an exchange of experiences and knowledge and build collaborative ideas.
By ‘taking away the politics and expectations’, Empower Her* Voice offers a low-threshold for the public to empathise and understand the gravity of gender-related marginalisation.
The organisation has been active since November 2021 in Dublin, hosting various workshops and cultural events and also fundraising for Women’s Aid Ireland. They have increasingly gained attention over the last months, especially the last weeks, when they started a #chalkback campaign on their Instagram page. First introduced by @callbacksofnyc, #chalkback addresses individual instances of harassment in public spaces, by calling it out where it happened. Empower Her* Voice aims ‘to demystify catcalling’ this way and combat the normalisation of it. By using it ‘to directly engage with the institutions’ at fault, they want to bring about immediate change within the individual situations, counteracting the public connivance instance by instance.
When in early November, a woman reported someone groping her to one of the bouncers of the Night-venue WigWam, Empower Her* Voice denounced the bouncer's response, “What did you do to instigate it”, with chalk writing right outside the bar. On Instagram, they also invited WigWam to make a statement, to which the venue then responded with an apology and the claim to investigate the occurrence. In a meeting, Empower Her* Voice also advised on future measures to ensure safety; however, at the time of writing, WigWam has only made this public on their Instagram story and not their grid or website.