men, masculinities and gender politics

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Growing up

The harms of pornography exposure among children and young people

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Exposure to pornography is routine among children and young people, with a range of notable and often troubling effects. Particularly among younger children, exposure to pornography may be disturbing or upsetting. Exposure to pornography helps to sustain young people’s adherence to sexist and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships. And, especially among boys and young men who are frequent consumers of pornography, including of more violent materials, consumption intensifies attitudes supportive of sexual coercion and increases their likelihood of perpetrating assault. While children and young people are sexual beings and deserve age-appropriate materials on sex and sexuality, pornography is a poor, and indeed dangerous, sex educator.

Male teachers in schools - An XY collection

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There is considerable debate over whether boys' education is shaped in significant ways by the sex of their teachers, and in particular, whether boys need male teachers. Here, XY presents a selection of key journal articles on this issue.

Also see this list of academic references on male teachers and male childcare workers: http://www.xyonline.net/content/iii-male-teachers-and-male-childcare-workers.

Raising boys? Help yourself to some gender stereotypes

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Steve Biddulph’s bestseller on bringing up boys takes us on a trip back to the 19th century.

How do we know if men have changed? Promoting and measuring attitude change with young men (2003)

Within the fields of sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS prevention and gender equity, there has been a growing consensus of the need to engage young men. Many of the major UN agencies working in health, gender and HIV/AIDS -- including UNFPA, WHO, PAHO, the World Bank, and UNAIDS -- have all confirmed the importance of engaging boys and young men in the promotion of health and gender equity.

A growing body of research on young men (15-24) affirms numerous reasons for focusing attention on their socialization.

Boys in the Picture: Adolescent boys' health (2000)

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Boys in the Picture (2000) is an advocacy document that stresses the importance of including boys in programming for adolescent sexual and reproductive health. This 32-page overview is in four languages. As it concludes, "Making a case for increasing attention to the health, development and wellbeing of adolescent boys and young men is necessary and timely. Increasing the attention to boys is a matter of gender equity and benefits accrue not only to adolescent boys and young men, but also to adolescent girls, women, children, men and communities."

Stuck in the Middle: Some Young Men's Attitudes and Experience of Violence, Conflict and Safety (Northern Ireland, 2009)

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Violence has become a daily occurrence for some young men in Northern Ireland, according to a new report launched by the University of Ulster in June 2009.

And one in 10 teenagers admitted regularly carrying weapons, including knives, on the streets.

The report entitled ‘Stuck in the Middle’ was based on the opinions of 130 young men - aged between 13 and 16 - from different areas across Northern Ireland on their experiences of violence, conflict and safety.

Young Men's Sexual and Reproductive Health: Towards a National Strategy - Getting Started

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While reproductive health is a concern for all men of all ages, the earliest part of the life course—adolescence and early adulthood—is of utmost importance. Promoting the sexual and reproductive health of young men is a keystone to enhancing their health overall, to reducing some of the major health risks they face, and to establishing habits that will protect them throughout their lives.

Involving Adolescent Boys and Young Men in Reproductive Health

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A short slideshow discussing the benefits of working on gender equitability earlier in a boy's life, before becoming a man.

Men, Male Roles, and Gender Equality - Norway White Paper (2009)

Gender equality has long been synonymous with women and their struggle for economic independence, equal pay, and equal power. It has also been a key principle in eliminating oppression and violence.

However, gender equality is about both men and women. Men spend less time together with their own children, are more prone to accidents, are over-represented in crime statistics, and drop out more often from upper secondary education. These examples indicate that men would have much to gain from true gender equality. Men are under-represented in the teaching professions in preschools and schools, in nursing and children's social services. At the same time, men still sit in the majority of positions of power in society and they still make more money than women. It is mainly men who are the perpetrators of domestic violence.

In recent years there have been positive changes in the role of males in society. It has been almost 20 years since the Committee on Male Roles in 1991 presented its recommendations. The Committee on Male Roles pointed out the following goals: the reallocation of power between women and men, more time for fathers to care for their own children both before and after a family breakup, reduced gender differences in choice of education and training and the prevention of men's violence against women; all of these were to be central goals for the future work towards gender equality. In several areas the development in the period has been positive. In particular, there is reason to look at the development in the home, and the increased contact between fathers and their children. In other areas, however, the development has been stagnant or negative. While women have entered previous male arenas in the working life, there has not been any increase in employment of men in the health and care giving sectors. In the education sector men constitute a smaller group today than 15 years ago. Consequently, there is reason to reiterate the goals stated by the committee.

Project H: Working with Young Men

ISSUE: Four Latin American NGOs have collaborated with PROMUNDO Institute (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) since 1998 to call greater attention to the needs and realities of young men ages 15-24 in sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and gender violence prevention, and to engage them in HIV/AIDS prevention.