There has been much progress in gender justice becoming a main advocacy point on a global level. Yet, gender inequality continues to be present and cross-cutting in various aspects of life, and continues to negatively affect people’s lives in various ways, especially women and girls. Many programs in the past decade have considered the importance of engaging men and boys in gender justice as means to address gender inequality, and have thus begun designing and implementing initiatives with this methodology.
I have been working on issues of men, masculinities, and gender for 32 years, and it looks to me like men’s roles in building gender equality are now part of the public agenda to an unprecedented extent. Almost every day, there are new stories and initiatives on how men can support women’s participation in medicine and science, end domestic and sexual violence, share the load of fathering and housework, and more. This focus has a compelling rationale.
Engaging men and boys in the prevention of domestic violence is, at its heart, a project of social justice. A feminist and social justice approach to domestic violence prevention, first, recognizes domestic violence as a social injustice: this violence causes harm, is fundamentally linked to power and inequality, and acts as a fundamental barrier to gender equality. Second, it addresses the social inequalities at the root of this violence and, third, it works for change through social action. How do contemporary efforts to engage men and boys measure up to this approach?
NOTE: Now also see the 5-page Policy Brief, summarising this report and released in November 2021, available here.
Soon after the presidential race is decided it will be imperative for the U.S. to hold a series of town hall conversations; one must be about rejecting patriarchy. Male domination continues to play too big a role in aggravating the divide that afflicts us.
Engaged fathers matter enormously for children and for early childhood development. Yet women around the world still do three times as much childcare and unpaid domestic work as men do. In the ZERO TO THREE Journal, Promundo’s Gary Barker, Ruti Levtov, and Brian Heilman present an overview of evidence and lessons learned from the MenCare campaign, including recommendations for achieving the goal of equality in care work.
Trying to change the world? Here are some key resources.
Here are nine free books on how: guides to activism, advocacy, community organising, and social change work. And below them, there are some guides on self-care for activists.
Books on doing activism
Mobilising men is a vital part of social change towards gender equality, but it is under-developed in Australia.
A few weeks ago, I attended a training on gender-based violence, run by a local social service organization, which sought to involve representatives from different community settings in engaging men in anti-violence work. Conversation centered around identifying the ways in which gender-based violence lies on a continuum, ranging from sexist comments and ‘rape jokes’ to sexual assault and domestic violence.
What is the state of gender norms in Australia? To what extent are traditional norms of masculinity still dominant, and to what extent are they shifting or breaking down? Do young men agree with stereotypical constructions of masculinity, and if they do, what implications does this have for their lives and their relations with others? To answer these questions, this webinar draws on two recent Australian surveys, one among young men aged 18 to 30 and another among people in Australia. The webinar then explores how we may reconstruct masculine norms.