Working with Boys and Men
This report describes a programme for adolescent boys in Nigeria which seeks to increase boys' awareness of gender-based oppression, and to foster their critical thinking skills as a means to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in their communities.
This report from the Catalyst series "Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives" examines men's support of gender initiatives in their workplace. This include ways to increase men's awareness of gender bias and the associated costs, factors that encourage men to lend their support to gender initiatives, and barriers that prevent them from supporting such initiatives.
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.
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.