A new publicly-funded podcast series has launched as part of a campaign to tackle gender-based violence.

The #IsThisOkay? podcast features men from Greater Manchester talking about unacceptable behaviours faced by women.

It comes after Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham launched a campaign under the same name aimed at men and boys following the murder of Sarah Everard by a police officer in London.

The public engagement campaign, which has had £150,000 of funding from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), is part of the city-region’s 10-year gender-based violence strategy.

The new three-episode podcast hosted by Mancunian writer, journalist and influencer Noz Choudry brings together men from different backgrounds to have an "open discussion" about attitudes and behaviours towards women.

Speaking at a media event ahead of the release this week, he said: “I love the fact that this podcast is part of a greater strategy to deal with this in a real way.

“Also what I loved about the whole strategy and what we were getting involved in is that it spoke to this really Manc attitude of ‘let’s get to the crux of what the problem is, let’s not faff about with things that are unimportant, let’s get to what’s important.’

“What can we do in a practical sense? What is the practical difference we can make? So much of that is speaking to men.”

#IsThisOk? Podcast host Noz Choudry with guest Pascal (Picture: GMCA)

#IsThisOk? Podcast host Noz Choudry with guest Pascal (Picture: GMCA)

The first phase of the campaign kicked off in December 2021 with a 92-second video highlighting the sort sexual harassment that women and girls face daily.

So far, this part of the campaign has reached 5.3m views online.

A survey of 400 men and boys aged 18 to 35 in Greater Manchester found that half had seen the video and, of those who had, half said it made them think, feel or want to act differently.

Guests on the podcast say having these kind of conversations has opened their eyes to what women and girls put up with.

One of the guests, Daniel, recalled an occasion when his friend honked a horn and shouted something at a girl he liked. “But I didn’t say anything at the time,” he said.

“I laughed. That was me not having the courage to say anything.”

“It’s good to be humble and learn from what you’ve done,” he added.

“You’re part of it, unfortunately, because if you don’t say anything, you’re part of it.

“But if you learn from it and you’re actually humble and accept I need to learn and be part of the change, then we can actually start to see a change.”

#IsThisOk? Podcast guests Rick (left) And Daniel (Picture: GMCA)

#IsThisOk? Podcast guests Rick (left) And Daniel (Picture: GMCA)

Deputy mayor Kate Green, who is responsible for policing in the city-region, said it was important to have the "authentic voice of real people" at the heart of the campaign.

But she said this is just one aspect of the strategy and the GMCA remains committed to tackling gender-based violence in all its forms.

Baroness Bev Hughes, who launched the campaign when she was Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor, said an "enduring" public engagement project had always been planned as part of the 10-year gender-violence strategy.

But she believes this had to start by initiating a conversation between men and boys.

“For once, I’m glad we had a male mayor because he’s a man who could start this conversation with other men,” she joked.

“That itself was very powerful.”

Mr Burnham said the murder of Sarah Everard led to a period of personal reflection for him which involved speaking to his teenage daughters about their experiences.

However, he said the public debate struck a "discordant note" as it focused on how women and girls should behave differently, rather than on what men – who are the perpetrators in most cases – should do.

“It just made me really think, God, we’ve got this so wrong,” he said.

“It’s so in the wrong place and we need to do something.

“We need to lead a new conversation – or I need to lead a new conversation – with men, lads and boys, in Greater Manchester at least, to say, come on, we’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror here.

"We’ve got to think about our own behaviour, how it makes people feel and we’re going to have to make some changes.

“And we’re going to have to do that among ourselves, not make excuses, challenge ourselves, challenge each other and have a different conversation.”

The three-part #IsThisOK? podcast is available to watch on YouTube.

People can also listen to the podcast on Spotify and other popular podcast platforms.