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.
Working with Boys and Men
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.
This working paper:
- Reviews existing knowledge on child marriage and informal unions between girls and boys/men in the Global South;
- Explores the attitudes of male family and community members on child marriage and the role of masculinity in shaping these attitudes; and
- Surveys interventions currently working with men and boys to see what can be built upon more systematically in the future work on child marriage.
Please see below for the full report, in PDF.
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.
This short article details the initial findings from a 3-month conversation between 21 male activists who work to prevent violence against women. Using Participatory Action Research methodology, this research project investigates what men who do this work would like to learn from other men who do this work. To date, no research has been done that examines what it is that motivates and sustains men who work, as their primary effort, to prevent men’s violence against women.
The EMERGE (Engendering Men: Evidence on Routes to Gender Equality) project includes a Practice Brief on "Lessons in good practice from work with men and boys for gender equality".
Since the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, there have been tremendous advances in the rights and well-being of women and girls. We are still far from achieving equality between women and men, but by many measures—including health, education, political participation, and income— we are closer to it than we were 20 years ago. As envisioned in the Beijing Platform for Action, one critical piece for advancing the gender equality agenda is engaging men and boys.
To achieve gender equality, we’ll have to engage men. Above all, because gender inequalities are sustained in large part by men – by men’s attitudes, behaviours, identities, and relations. First, this work must be feminist – and I mean, strongly, robustly feminist. Second, this work must challenge men. It must address male privilege. Gender inequality is as much a story of male advantage as it is a story of female disadvantage. Gender inequality is a story of male privilege. Third, we have to involve men in processes of personal and social change. Fourth, we must affirm diverse ways of being a man. We should affirm men who do not fit dominant codes of masculinity and challenge sexist constructions of manhood. Finally, we have to engage men in working for systems change. In tackling the material, structural, and cultural factors that underpin gender inequality.