Tag Archives: men

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.

 

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So what about the boys? The role of men and boys in achieving gender equality

By Victoria Sung, VGIF UN Representative

Men and boys are frequently painted as the perpetuators of gender inequality, but new campaigns and programs targeting men and boys have become the subject of discussion in the fight for gender mainstreaming. At the CSW 56 side event “So what about the boys? The role of men and boys in achieving gender equality” hosted by the Mission of Canada and Plan International’s program Because I Am A Girl, panelists discussed the merit of male-targeted programs. Pointing to examples such as the White Ribbon Campaign that started in 1991, which asked men to wear a white ribbon in solidarity and awareness of gender-based violence, the event sought to create a conversation between men and women. This was presented as a necessity to avoid the disempowerment men often feel when presented with the issue of women’s rights.

Ravi Karkara of UNICEF called for intervention to sensitize men and boys to gender inequalities. Although he suggested approaching men and boys of all ages, he stressed that it was important to work with boys as early as possible. “We must do this to unlearn patriarchy and masculine hegemony,” he said, to the applause of the audience. As the founder of the Men Engage Alliance, he gave an example of a program in Nepal, which mapped out unsafe spaces in villages for women and girls, and engaged men and boys in a dialog on why these spaces were unsafe. Another example came from Bangladesh, where local religious leaders were involved in a campaign to “Say no to early marriage.” His suggestion to the audience and other panelists were to hold such participatory and inclusive interactions to create a meaningful exchange.

Bringing voices from the grassroots level, two youth delegates from Because I Am A Girl, Alishba from Pakistan, and Len from Cambodia, addressed the crowd. Alishba shared her own story of educating her father on her rights as a girl, including allowing her the freedom to leave the house on her own and not agreeing to an early marriage. Len stated that men are more likely to listen to other men, and suggested educational policies for fathers. Both youth delegates emphasized that gender equality should start in the home, specifically the relationship between a father and his family.

The sentiment at this event was that working only with women for gender equality provided an incomplete picture of inequality, and that involvement with men was necessary to improve the situation across the globe. This should be considered in future discussions of gender equality.