This paper discusses the role of men in redressing gender inequalities by exploring the meanings and uses of masculinity. Discussions on masculinity provide a place in which men's involvement in producing and challenging inequalities and inequities in gender and other social relations can be investigated. In this paper, masculinity is defined in terms of biological determinism or essentialism, cultural or social constructionism and masculinity as a discourse of power. The uses of masculinity are examined in the context of power and patriarchy; production and social reproduction; poverty; governance; violence and conflict; health; and workplace and organizations. Thinking about masculinities and men's role in working towards gender equality is relatively new in the development field. Therefore, continued efforts should be made to publicize and advocate for the importance of men's responsibilities and roles in work towards gender equality in the international fora, local and national policy debates, and development programming. It is believed that making masculinities visible and men more conscious of gender as it affects their lives and those of women is a first step towards challenging gender inequalities.
Working with Boys and Men
What can be done to change the social norms that drive the behaviors of men and boys that leave girls vulnerable? The vulnerabilities and disadvantages that girls face emerge directly out of social constructions of gender – identities, attributes, socially expected roles and the social structures set up to enforce those roles. … In bringing men and boys into the question, we want to make it clear that this is not to propose an either-or argument, of whether we should devote more time and resources to engaging men and boys in redressing gender inequalities versus working directly with girls to protect and empower them. Both must happen.
To reach Oxfam’s goal of overcoming poverty and suffering, inequalities such as those based upon class, race, ethnicity, physical ability and gender must be addressed. We must continue to confront these inequalities, and to learn to do so more effectively and with more sustainable results. As a primary factor influencing inequalities, gender has been at the centre of Oxfam’s work for decades. Gender equality is an end itself, but it is also a requirement for long term poverty reduction. It is also clear that gender equality is not possible unless both women and men are engaged in the process. Through the “Gender Equality and Men” (GEM) project, Oxfam GB is exploring ways to move more effectively towards gender equality by incorporating men and boys more fully in its gender work – their positions and privilege, and the consequences of that privilege.
Produced by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), this report summarises and draws inspiration from the Politicising Masculinities symposium, which took place on 15-18 October 2007 in Dakar, Senegal. The report reflects on four key areas of discussion that took place at the symposium: new ways of theorising; male bodies and sexualities; shaping policies and transforming institutions; and mobilisation, activism and movement-building.
Engaging Men at the Community Level (2008) is a manual to help develop activities at a community level for work related to male engagement and HIV and AIDS. All of the activities in the manual can be used with groups of men and women. This manual is a compilation of many of the activities that Promundo and EngenderHealth have used in “community” settings all over the world including, Brazil, Botswana, Ghana, India, Kenya, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, and Uganda.
In 2009, the Coalition on Men and Boys (UK) published its ground-breaking report ‘Man Made: Men, masculinities and equality in public policy’. The report provides a unique, in-depth picture of the circumstances and needs of men and boys in England and Wales, and the issues they currently face. Focusing on the key themes of work, fatherhood, health, education and violence, ‘Man Made’ analyses how public policy can support and engage with men and boys effectively, and outlines practical proposals for reform.
The key messages from the report are that:
Why include men in gender equality and anti-poverty work? What works with men in practice? What is the impact of including men in gender analysis and action? How should organisations develop work with men?
This collection edited by Sandy Ruxton (Oxfam, 2004) provides a wide-ranging discussion of work with men to build gender equality. The entire book is available below.
This special issue of the journal Critical Half focuses on ‘Engaging Men in “Women’s Issues”: Inclusive approaches to gender and development’. Published in 2007, it includes the following articles:
Involving Men in Gender Practice and Policy / M. Flood.
This paper, originally prepared for UNICEF in 2003, synthesizes lessons from the past two decades of work with men and boys to end gender inequality and men's violence, and to promote new models of masculinity and new relations between women and men. It distills the conceptual tools that can help organizations focus such work so that it is not a drain on resources that could go to women and girls. And it develops a strategic framework for addressing and involving men and boys.
Please see below for the attachment, in either PDF or RTF. A French-language version is available.
The promising case stories presented in this report show insights of some powerful program initiatives carried out in Ethiopia, India, Nicaragua, South Africa and Sweden regarding working with boys and young men to end violence against girls and boys. Moreover, the key challenges and difficulties boys and men meet when they want to change their behaviour and attitudes and fight inequalities are also briefly presented in the report.