Tag Archives: gender based violence

Men are the key

Ajla Karajko

CSW 2013 has offered few events where the focus was on men taking the action and preventing violence against women and girls. Most of the events were organized by “MenEngage”, which is a global alliance of NGOs and the UN agencies that seek to engage boys and men to achieve gender equality.

It has been concluded that men are the key to solving the problem of violence against women and girls, because it is them who are committing it, and it is them who can prevent it from happening. That is why there has to be increased education of men and boys about the definition and values of manhood in relation to females, as well as increased participation of men and boys in training activities, and national, regional and international advocacy against the violence.

Selected projects where men are working to prevent violence against women are:

“The Mentors in Violence Prevention” is focused on preventing all forms of men’s violence against women. This multi-racial, mixed gender program is the first large-scale attempt to enlist high school, collegiate and professional athletes in the fight against this violence.

“Voice Male Magazine” is national publication chronicling the transformation of masculinities. They invite men to challenge men’s violence, and to explore men’s interior lives. Furthermore, they focus on drawing inspiration from the world-changing acts of social transformation women have advanced, and on growing legion of activist male allies advocating for a new expression of manhood.

“Men Stopping Violence” works locally, nationally, and internationally to dismantle belief systems, social structures and institutional practices that oppress women and children and dehumanize men themselves.

“A Call to Men” provides education and training for men, boys and communities. Their aim is to shift social norms that negatively impact our culture and promote a more healthy and respectful definition of manhood. They partner with organizations and individuals to create national campaigns that raise awareness about ending violence on a larger-scale.

“Men Can Stop Rape” aims to stop violence before it happens. They focus on helping men use their strength in positive ways in all of their relationships, and they use the social ecological model. They engaged over 2 million youth and professionals, and won a few awards.

“Men’s Initiative for Jane Doe Inc.” works in providing education, training, and support for all men interested in direct participation. They fundraise for shelters for battered women and for programs for boys and young men.

Because of CSW57, I concluded that men are the key to solving the problem of violence against women and girls; that there is a need for increased education of men and boys about the definition and values of manhood in relation to females; and there is a need of increased participation of men and boys in training activities, national, regional and international advocacy against the violence.



UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet Calls for Increased Political and Economic Empowerment for Women

By Victoria Sung and Charlotte Lorick, VGIF UN Representatives

On February 2nd, Executive Director Michelle Bachelet gave a press conference marking the one-year anniversary of UN Women. Referencing the democracy movement in the Arab states and the global economic crisis, Bachelet outlined six priorities for UN Women in the coming year.

“At this moment of historic change, we cannot afford to leave women out. Women’s full and equal participation in the political arena is fundamental to democracy and justice,” Bachelet stated, placing emphasis on the first goal of UN women, the advancement of women’s political participation and leadership. For 2012, UN Women will support movements in 52 countries for gender equality in leadership, including training in legislative techniques to advance women’s presence in politics.

Bachelet also prioritized economic empowerment. In 2011, for example, UN Women improved laws and conditions in various countries by increasing access to markets and providing training. In one case, UN Women worked with a women’s cooperative in Senegal to provide women with fishing licenses for the first time ever. Bachelet plans to continue facilitating economic progress for women like this in the year 2012 and beyond.

Bachelet went on to speak about three more goals: ending violence against women and girls, expanding the role of women in post-conflict talks and recovery, and increasing intergovernmental coordination and accountability across the UN in terms of gender equality. She stressed that sexual violence affects both men and women, remarking, “Violence against women is not just a woman’s issue. It diminishes each of us and has tremendous social and economic costs.” In the Democratic Republic of Congo, more than 150 individuals were convicted of rape and other acts of sexual violence. Their recent conviction was a milestone in the fight against gender based violence.

In order to accomplish its goals for global economic and political empowerment for women, UN Women hopes to increase contributions from $235 million in 2011 to $700 million in 2012 through 2013. For, as Bachelet reminds us, “We simply can no longer afford to deny the full potential of one-half of the population.”

The UN General Assembly created UN Women in July 2010 in a historic move towards gender equality within the UN system. UN Women works towards equality as outlined in the UN Charter of Rights, including the empowerment of and the elimination of discrimination against women and girls. UN Women became operational on January 1, 2011. Although it is only a year old, UN Women can celebrate the achievements of the previous year and look forward to a busy 2012.


To watch the UN webcast of the press conference, visit: http://bit.ly/zNp7cc