men, masculinities and gender politics

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Effectively involving men in preventing violence against women (2013)

A recent report from the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse explores how to effectively involve men and boys in preventing violence against women. The report has the following key messages:

  • Engaging boys and men to prevent violence against women can make a difference
  • The main reasons for involving men in violence prevention are:
    • While most men do not use violence against women, when violence does occur it is largely perpetrated by men
    • Constructions of masculinity play a crucial role in shaping men’s violence against women
    • Men have a positive role to play in helping stop violence against women
  • A ‘gender transformative’ approach involves challenging rigid gender roles and critically questioning what influences these. Programmes involving a ‘gender transformative’ approach are effective in changing men’s attitudes and behaviours related to violence against women.
  • Other principles for engaging men include:
    • Positive messages ‘inviting’ rather than ‘indicting’ men can be more effective
    • There is diversity in how masculinities are constructed and expressed in different cultural contexts and social settings. Culturally-relevant material that acknowledges men’s social contexts and draws on their personal experiences is required
  • Men can prevent violence to women by not personally engaging in violence, by challenging the violence of other men, and by addressing the root causes of violence
  • There are local and international examples that can be built on to increase the involvement of men in this work

To access the full report, please go to: www.nzfvc.org.nz/issues-papers-5