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.
In this report, seven masculinity researchers write about masculinity in different parts of the world and about how masculinity is often linked to violence. These acts of violence are committed not only against women and children, but also against other men. The writers suggest a number of ways in which men can be involved in working to combat men’s violence.
Compared with women, men - especially young men - are overwhelmingly involved in all types of violence. Cultural ideas about what it means to be a man often support this violence. But that is not to say that violence is a natural condition for men, or a natural part of being a man. Men are taught to use violence and at times are encouraged to use it. This paper was prepared for a 2003 UNESCAP Sub-regional Training Workshop on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Partnership with Men.
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.
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.