men, masculinities and gender politics


Alan Greig

Gender: A one-page introduction


The following provides a handy, one-page introduction to gender. It notes that gender is socially constructed, gender is both personal and collective, gender involves power and inequality, and there is diversity and hierarchy

Mobilising Men in Practice: Challenging Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Institutional Settings: Tools, Stories, Lessons

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Calls for greater male participation are now a commonplace in work on sexual and reproductive health and rights. The need to engage men in efforts to prevent sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and promote sexual health and gender equality is well accepted. But we know less about the optimal forms of such engagement, particularly when it comes to moving beyond a focus on changing individual men’s attitudes and behaviours.

Experiments in Transformative Justice: The Challenging Male Supremacy Project in New York City


Together with many others, we have come to see male supremacy as a system causing a great deal of violence and harm not only in the world at large, but also within our own radical and Left movements. Whether it’s physical or sexual abuse, talking over others, unsolicited neediness, or shrugging off emotional and logistical work, practices of male supremacy often work to undermine solidarity and community. They harm, traumatize and push people away, placing even more obstacles in our collective path to social transformation.

WHO Policy Brief: Policy Approaches to Involving Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality and Health Equity

Work with men has demonstrated significant potential in contributing to building gender equality and improving the health of women and men. However, most work with men has tended to be local in scale and limited in scope. To be more widely effective, that is to transform the pervasive gender inequalities which characterize many societies globally – efforts to transform men’s behaviour require to be significantly scaled up. Policy processes and mechanisms are key elements in any effort to engage men and boys in achieving gender equality.
This Policy Brief:

Men and the Prevention of Gender-based Violence: A Conceptual Framework for Policy Change (2010)

This discussion paper was produced for “Partners for Prevention: Working with Boys and Men to Prevent Gender-based Violence” a UN interagency initiative UNDP, UNFPA, UNIFEM and UNV. This regional programme is a coordinated approach to support primary prevention of gender-based violence in Asia and the Pacific with the deeper involvement of boys and men.

Literature Review on Men, Gender, Health and HIV and AIDS in South Africa - August 2008


This literature review on men, gender and HIV and AIDS has been carried out in conjunction with a number of policy initiatives that Sonke Gender Justice Network has been involved in over the last 18 months. A growing body of evidence also suggests that men are far less likely than women to access HIV services including testing, treatment and other care and support services. Men’s under-utilisation of HIV services significantly undermines prevention and

Sex and the Rights of Man

This article explores the subject of sexual rights and the claims about such rights as they are made by and for men. It considers the different bases of these claims, which range from some men’s experience of sexual oppression to other men’s experience of their gender socialisation. The article highlights the issues of power and privilege, which often lie hidden within such claims and calls for a discourse of ‘men and sexual rights’ that can take account of both gender norms and sexual hierarchies. Central to this call is a conception of accountability that is at once personal and political; the political accountability of duty-bearers to promote and protect the sexual rights of all rights-holders, men and women; and the personal accountability of men in relation to the ways in which their gender privilege serves to deny the sexual rights of others. 

First published in the IDS Bulletin, Vol 37 No 5, 2006.

Men, Masculinities & Development: Broadening our work towards gender equality (2000)

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.

Troublesome Masculinities: Masculinity in Trouble

This article explores the notion of ‘troublesome’ masculinities that characterise much of the policy discourse and programme thinking on problems of young men and gender. It critiques the dimorphism that shapes this view of young men’s gender trouble, and the ‘culturalism’ that constrains the perception of the troubled times in which many young men live.