MALE INVOLVEMENT IN ENDING FGM
Tools, materials and campaigns to work on masculinities for a gender transformed society
Redefining masculinity is crucial for achieving a gender-transformed society that promotes equality and social justice. Traditional notions of masculinity often reinforce harmful gender stereotypes, perpetuating inequality and limiting individuals’ potential for personal growth and fulfillment.
To overcome these limitations, it is essential to challenge and transform masculinities in a way that embraces diverse expressions of manhood while dismantling oppressive power dynamics. By engaging men as allies and advocates they can play a crucial role in challenging patriarchal systems and addressing gender inequality. Men’s groups, organisations, and initiatives that promote gender equality and involve men in advocacy work are essential for creating a gender-transformed society.
Over the years various tools and campaigns have been deployed and have become instrumental in engaging men as allies and advocates for gender equality. They encourage men to recognize their role in challenging harmful gender norms, promoting respectful relationships, and advocating for gender justice. Below is a highlight on tools and campaigns that focus on masculinities.
The HeForShe campaign, initiated by UN Women, is a global movement that aims to engage men and boys as advocates for gender equality. It seeks to mobilize individuals worldwide to take action and commit to promoting women’s rights and gender justice. HeForShe has successfully engaged men and boys as allies in the fight for gender equality. By encouraging men to take a public stand and make concrete commitments, the campaign has sought to challenge harmful gender stereotypes and promote positive masculinity.
The “Be a Man” (BAM) campaign is an initiative developed by Promundo and Sonke Gender Justice to address rigid and harmful masculinities by promoting alternative, non-violent, and gender-equitable expressions of manhood. The BAM campaign incorporates educational programs into schools, universities, and community settings to promote critical reflections on gender norms and transform attitudes and behaviors. It provides workshops, training, and resources for educators and youth leaders to engage men and boys in gender-transformative discussions. Barker, G., & Christensen, P. (2013). Why Masculine Norms Matter for Men’s Health.
The White Ribbon Campaign, started in Canada in 1991, is a decentralized campaign focused on engaging men and boys to end violence against women through outreach, media campaigns, education and fundraising. It encourages men and boys to take a stand against violence directed at women, promote respectful relationships, and challenge harmful gender norms. Participants wear white ribbons as a symbol of their commitment to ending violence against women. It is an example of how a relatively simple and low-cost effort, that is locally controlled and locally defined, can find huge support among men. White Ribbon has since expanded to some 70 countries. MenEngage-UNFPA Advocacy Brief. Engaging Men, Changing Gender Norms: Directions for Gender-Transformative Action.
In 2009 and 2010, MenEngage and its partners supported by UNFPA, administered the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) to more than 20,000 men and women in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Mali, Mexico and Rwanda The survey covered attitudes and practices relating to men’s employment, education, childhood experiences, domestic and parenting duties, ideas about gender equality, sexual relations, use and experience of violence, health issues, and men’s opinions on laws and policies related to gender equality. https://menengage.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/resource-pdf/Advocacy_Brief___Engaging_Men_Changing_Gender_Norms_GTA.pdf
The findings indicated that men can quickly accept new gender-equitable policies and that younger men and men with secondary education and above are more likely than older men or those with less education to have gender equitable attitudes, gender-equitable behaviors, and to support gender-equitable policies. For example: In Rwanda, 62% of men aged 18-24 reported playing an equal or greater role in at least one domestic chore compared to 48% of men aged 35-49. In Chile, 62% of men in the 18-24 range reported doing so, compared to 51% of men aged 35-49 and 37% of men aged 50-59. Men aged 18-34 in Croatia showed higher rates of frequent communication with their partners about personal issues than do older men. Younger men in both Chile and Croatia were more likely to take parental leave and be present during their children’s births than older men, in some cases more than twice as likely to do so. In all countries studied, younger men are less likely to use physical violence against a female partner in all settings (for monogamous men). MenEngage-UNFPA Advocacy Brief. Engaging Men, Changing Gender Norms: Directions for Gender-Transformative Action.
MenEngage Application, currently found on Play store and soon to work with IOS is an interactive platform, with questions, answers and case studies. The Men Engage App distribution model is done by giving out phones as tools of community learning, and encouraging many people to download the app. Since the mobilization is done mainly in rural part of Mali, it is important to consider the limitations concerning the access to technology. The app is currently running with French content, although the model can be used in many other different culture settings and different languages.
Do you know of any other initiatives and campaigns that work on masculinities for a gender transformed society?
Do you know of any other tools that would help grassroot organisations to work on masculinities?
Dryden-Peterson, S. (2015). Engaging Men and Boys in Global Gender Equality. Journal of Peace Education, 12(2), 170-188.
Ricardo, C., & Martins, L. (2010). Men and Gender Equality in South Africa: Influencing Masculinities for Gender Transformation. Sonke Gender Justice Network.
Barker, G., & Christensen, P. (2013). Why Masculine Norms Matter for Men’s Health.
MenEngage-UNFPA Advocacy Brief.Engaging Men, Changing Gender Norms: Directions for Gender-Transformative Action.
MenEngage-UNFPA Advocacy Brief. Engaging Men, Changing Gender Norms: Directions for Gender-Transformative Action.
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