White Ribbon New Zealand's 2016 campaign focused on giving fathers in New Zealand the skills and confidence to talk about respectful relationships, including respectful sexual relationships, with their sons. One significant influence on boys' and young men's sexualities is pornography, and White Ribbon NZ addressed this in their campaign materials.
Activism & Politics
While a lot of effort and attention is being spent to “engage men” in addressing, responding to and preventing gender-based violence, the term has not been defined in any specific or concrete ways. There is some vague idea, often, about what it might mean for men to be engaged, but without a clearer understanding of what we mean by “engaging”, we’re often left with a lack of clarity in terms of goals, objectives and related activities.
There seem to be at least five distinct but often overlapping goals that people are referring to when they use the term engaging men (with some of the questions that frequently arise in that goal area):
There has been progress towards gender equality in countries around the world. And increasingly, men are being invited to help build gender equality. There is a growing belief that men have a vital role to play in working with women to create a world of gender justice, in campaigns such as HeForShe and in programs addressing domestic violence, parenting, and health. But is gender equality good for men? What do men gain from more gender-equal relationships, families, and communities? What do men lose? Does feminism need men, and do men need feminism?
When profeminist men are alleged to have perpetrated abuse or harassment: How should the alleged abuser respond? How should friends and colleagues respond? Does this change how we see the alleged abuser’s work? Can the alleged abuser stay in public roles?
The term toxic masculinity has appeared increasingly frequently in media and popular discussions of men and gender. The term typically is used to refer to the narrow, traditional, or stereotypical norms of masculinity which shape boys and men’s lives. These norms include the expectations that boys and men must be active, aggressive, tough, daring, and dominant.
The term toxic masculinity points to two interrelated impacts of the constructions of masculinity:
Meaningful engagement with men and boys is increasingly recognized as critical to gender equality and equity, necessary not only for women’s empowerment, but also for transforming the social and gender norms that reinforce patriarchy and inequality and harm both women and men. The primary challenge embedded in this work is how to engage men and boys effectively without instrumentalizing them as a pathway to women’s empowerment on the one hand, or marginalizing women and girls in gender equity work on the other.
This paper explores the essential principles required for the development of an effective violence prevention framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and boys, to reduce and prevent violence against women and children.
It is now widely accepted that strategies to end violence against women and girls (VAWG) must include work with men and boys. Much of the evidence relating to such strategies comes from the health sector. Ending VAWG, however, requires coordinated work across many sectors. The need for a multi-sectoral response to the challenge of ending VAWG has focused attention on the opportunities for and challenges of male engagement strategies outside of the health sector.
There has recently been a ‘turn to men’ in gender politics, an increasing emphasis on the roles that men can play in building gender equality. This is a feminist achievement, which locates the responsibility for gender injustice squarely with the group who benefit from it, and it prompts programs and policies which ideally involve men in processes of personal and collective transformation. Yet there are problems with this turn to men.
What role can men play in building gender equality? How can men be engaged in the work of building a gender-just world? This page offers a guide to the wide range of resources and materials on XY on these issues.