International: The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality

A new publication discusses entry points and opportunities for engaging men in work on gender equality, focusing on issues of violence, health, fatherhood, the workplace and the need to engage youth.
Gender equality is not a women’s issue; it concerns men and boys as well as women and girls. Garnering sufficient support for the profound social changes required by the gender equality agenda cannot be achieved by women alone. It also requires the active involvement of men, all the more so as they often control the resources needed for this work.
The publication Women 2000 and Beyond: The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality presents strategies for and lessons learned from male engagement in these areas, covering both modifying men's personal attitudes and behaviours; and mobilizing men to take action on the political, economic and social structures that maintain gender inequalities.

This is an excerpt from the paper:
"Men’s motivations for involvement in gender equality work
Men’s lives are complex and are shaped by more than their gender identity. Race/ethnicity, class, caste, sexuality, religion and nationality all influence how men identify their interests. The increased recognition of the need to involve men in promoting gender equality has been accompanied by the growing motivation of men to become engaged. This motivation can emanate from a variety of sources, including men’s relationships with women, their concern for their own personal well-being or that of their families, or their sense of social justice. In their families and communities, men live in social relationships with women and girls: as wives, partners, mothers, sisters, aunts, daughters, nieces, friends, classmates, colleagues and neighbours. The quality of these relationships in large part determines the quality of men’s lives. Men can increasingly see that their lives are also damaged by a system of gender inequality that has a negative impact on the women and girls with whom they live, work and interact in different ways. Many men make sacrifices for their children and want their daughters to grow up in a world that offers young women security, freedom and opportunities to fulfil themselves. This provides a powerful reason for many men to support gender equality.

South African Men’s Forum
Mbuyiselo Botha of the South African Men’s Forum emphasizes:
“What has kept me going is the philosophy that says our own liberation as men, as black South Africans, cannot be removed from the total liberation of women in this country. That has been a driving force. It would be very hypocritical to talk of liberation when you know that a large section of the society is still in bondage.”
Source: D. Peacock and A. Levack (2004), “The Men as Partners Program in South Africa: reaching men to end gender-based violence and promote sexual and reproductive health”, in Men’s Sexual and Reproductive Health: Lessons from the Field, Barker and Das, eds., International Journal of Men’s Health (Blindern: Men’s Studies Press)."