White Ribbon, Berkeley Inc.
Behind the music
A letter from leadership

30 years: Our Pursuit of Transforming Masculinities

Avatar of Humberto Carolo
Humberto Carolo
Executive Director
Avatar of Mona Mitchell
Mona Mitchell
Chair, Board of Directors

Since 1991 men and boys have worn white ribbons — first in Toronto and then across the globe in more than 60 countries — as a pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about all forms of gender-based violence and discrimination.

Three male advocates came together to form our organization in response to the urging of women:

‘Help us build a new legacy and share in the responsibility to end men's violence against women.’

Thanks to the feminist and social justice movements, our nation began to acknowledge the stark evidence of systemic misogyny, discrimination, violence, exploitation, and oppression of women and girls.

The 1989 Montreal massacre robbed 14 women of their lives and their presence in their families’ and friends’ lives. Their life aspirations, rights for autonomy, connections to others, and their futures were stolen.

And why?

Because misogynistic attitudes and behaviours created the climate for violence, our collective pain and angst grew the demand for societal transformation. Our hearts had opened, united in a collective vision, and we embarked on our journey.

Never again, we uttered.

Sadly in 2021, despite our collective programming, we saw very high rates of gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, and online abuse of our youth as a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indigenous children's souls called to be recovered and for system-wide responsibility. Truth and Reconciliation asked us to take a hard look at our role in colonialism and the generational impact of our violence and oppression. Acts of violence were directed at Black, Trans, and Muslim communities. And more cases of sexual harassment and violence in male-dominated sectors, including the military and law enforcement.

And why?

Because deeply misogynistic and discriminatory attitudes and behaviours created the climate for violence and a lack of action and accountability. Thirty-two years after the Montreal massacre, we still see the same immensely painful response.

Investing in primary prevention saves lives and stops violence from happening now and in the future. It’s the formula for transformative social change.

We know how to replace harmful gender norms and stereotypes with norms of healthy masculinities that advance fairness, equity, kindness, respect, compassion, and emotional intelligence.

We know how to end this violence.

Primary prevention requires a long-term financial commitment to eradicate the entrenched values, attitudes, behaviours, and systemic practices perpetuating gender-based violence and discrimination. It is a complex, insidious social problem immune to brief responses.

Long-term financial support gives us the foundation we need to deliver high-quality, multifaceted campaigns, strategies, and activities based on innovation and best practices for which White Ribbon is renowned.

To mark our 30 years of transformative work and advocacy, we are calling on our government partners and donors to help change our trajectory and make primary prevention of gender-based violence by promoting healthy masculinities a high priority, with clear and concrete commitments for sustainable, core funding.

We are at a critical time, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated gender-based violence.
Let's respond urgently with time-proven prevention strategies.

We know how to create social transformation — a call that began in 1989 and still exists today.

This annual report shares highlights of our 2021 accomplishments and marks our 30th year in engaging men and boys in the prevention of gender-based violence. Over these 30 years, White Ribbon has developed unique, specialized skills in transforming masculinities to prevent gender-based violence. We are the foremost leader in creating systemic social change.

We are thankful for the generous support from the community, foundations, private sector, individual donors, sponsors, and government funders. Without your support, we could not have achieved the results found in this annual report.

White Ribbon's Board of Directors has been steadfast in their governance, and our team is superb in developing and delivering our exceptional programs. We are so grateful to you.

Thirty years ago, White Ribbon embraced the demand for social transformation to change our collective legacy and end men’s use of gender-based violence. Still, our hearts are open, united in a collective vision and journey towards social transformation.

We envision a future free from gender-based violence. It’s possible. Let’s transform together.

Together we are in solidarity.

Humberto Carolo, Executive Director
Mona Mitchell, Chair, Board of Directors