Jump to content

Engaging Men and Boys for Gender Equality

One Man Can Earlier this year, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59), which marked 20 years since the 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women, also drew attention to the progresses made in engaging men and boys – a critical element in advancing gender equality. In particular the event highlighted the need for a greater evidence base on this area.

This update features recent key evidence-based research reports and regional case studies from around the world on engaging men and boys in promoting gender equality. The resources cover issues such as: men’s role in care-giving, domestic work and fatherhood; engaging men in ending sexual violence and child marriage; and the need for policies to better engage men in gender equality and building state capacity to implement them.

This year saw the release of the first ever ‘State of the World’s Fathers’ report. Produced by MenCare, the report fills a much-needed gap in examining men’s role in caregiving and domestic work, making a strong case for the need for change in societies, public services and attitudes towards fatherhood and childbearing. The Institute of Development Studies (IDS), in collaboration with Promundo-US and Sonke Gender Justice Network has also recently published several works as part of its Engendering Men: Evidence on Routes to Gender Equality (EMERGE) initiative. EMERGE has recently produced a collaborative review of evidence on men and boys in social change and gender equality. It critically assesses trends and shifts in engaging men and boys, while exploring successful policies, programmes and implications for best practices across a variety of thematic areas, including in poverty, employment, care, education, sexual violence and conflict. There are also important lessons to be drawn from the EMERGE regional case studies and stories of change on how community engagement and advocacy can lead to positive change in tackling issues of gender inequalities.

Taking a similar approach, drawing on evidence from five countries of the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) - Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico and Rwanda - this research report ‘The Making of Sexual Violence’, adds to the evidence base on intimate partner violence by investigating the prevalence of sexual violence perpetration, as well as risk and protective factors, among men. Taking a different focus on sexual violence, recently published video testimonies of male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo provide a compelling account of how men are standing up to break the culture of silence surrounding male sexual violence.

The UN Women’s paper from late last year, ‘Men, masculinities and changing power: a discussion paper on engaging men in gender equality from Beijing 1995 to 2015’ seeks to start a dialogue about how best to move forward with efforts that actively engage men and boys in challenging power dynamics in their own lives as well as in their communities and societies. The paper suggests there is a need to look beyond working with men at the programme and project levels to developing, implementing and monitoring policies to engage men in gender equality and building state capacity to implement them.

Below are more resources on this issue.

Photo Credit: Ann Gottert
Photo Source
Creative Commons
This update was created by Madhushala Senaratne and Elaine Mercer.

MenCare in the public health sector in Central America: engaging health providers to reach men for gender equality in maternal, sexual, and reproductive health
Promundo 2015
Of all the topics discussed in engaging men in gender equality, the issue of men and caregiving, including men’s involvement in maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH), remains absent and underexplored. Yet, to achieve greate...
Being a man in Nigeria: perceptions and realities
Understanding men’s attitudes and practices to family, community life and relationships is crucial to improving and encouraging more equitable relationships between men and women. This Voices 4 Change Landmark Research Report is ...
Men, masculinities and changing power: a discussion paper on engaging men in gender equality from Beijing 1995 to 2015
Men Engage Alliance 2014
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. Progress has been made in the areas of health, education, political participation and inc...
Journeys to activism: video testimonies from survivors
Institute of Development Studies UK 2015
Five activists, all refugees, all men, all survivors of conflict-related sexual violence in their country of origin, share their personal perspectives on collective action and their individual decisions to speak out in Uganda where th...
Case studies: men, boys and gender equality
Institute of Development Studies UK 2015
Produced as part of the second phase of the Engendering Men: Evidence on Routes to Gender Equality (EMERGE) project, these case studies illustrate key evidence based approaches and highlight evidence gaps in engaging men and boys...
‘I can do women's work’: reflections on engaging men as allies in women's economic empowerment in Rwanda
H. Slegh; G. Barker; A. Kimonyo; P. Ndolimana; M. Bannerman / Routledge Taylor and Francis Group 2013
The benefits of women’s economic empowerment are well-known and documented in the development literature. Few studies and interventions, however, have explored how men react or can be engaged to enhance such interventions. ...