Posted by: unhcragd | October 4, 2009

Men Engage – Conference and Call to Action


The MenEngage Africa Symposium begins this week in South Africa – we posted the details on that a few weeks back.  Click here for that link.

The group has also just posted their Call to Action from the symposium the group held in Rio earlier this year.

Here are a few excerpts from the document.

There are deep costs to boys and men from the ways our societies have defined men’s power and raised boys to be men. Boys deny their humanity in search of an armor-plated masculinity. Young men and boys are sacrificed as cannon fodder in war for those men of political, economic, and religious power who demand conquest and domination at any cost. Many men cause terrible harm to themselves because they deny their own needs for physical and mental care or lack services when they are in need.

Too many men suffer because our male-dominated world is not only one of power of men over women, but of some groups of men over others. Too many men, like too many women, live in terrible poverty, in degradation, or are forced to do body- or soul-destroying work to put food on the table.

Too many men carry the deep scars of trying to live up to the impossible demands of manhood and find terrible solace in risk-taking, violence, self-destruction or the drink and drugs sold to make a profit for others. Too many men experience violence at the hands of other men.

Too many men are stigmatized and punished for the simple fact they love, desire and have sex with other men.

We are here because we know that the time when women stood alone in speaking out against discrimination and violence – that this time is coming to an end.

The Evidence Base is There : New initiatives and programs to engage men and boys in gender equality provides a growing body of evidence that confirms it is possible to change men’s gender-related attitudes and practices. Effective programs and processes have led men and boys to stand up against violence and for gender equality in both their personal lives and their communities. These initiatives not only help deconstruct harmful masculinities, but reconstruct more gender equitable ones. Global research makes it increasingly clear that working with men and boys can reduce violence, improve relationships, strengthen the work of the women’s movement, improve health outcomes of women and men, girls and boys, and that it is possible to accelerate this change through deliberate interventions.

Working with the Women’s Movement : The work with men and boys stems from and honors the pioneering work and ongoing leadership of the women’s movement. We stand in solidarity with the ongoing struggles for women’s empowerment and rights in our commitment to contribute to the myriad efforts to achieve gender equality. By working in close synergy with women’s rights organizations, we aim to change individual men’s attitudes and practices, and transform the imbalance of power between men and women in relationships, families, communities, institutions and nations.

International and UN Commitments : Through the UN and other international agreements, the nations of the world have committed themselves to taking action to involve men and boys in achieving of gender equality. Policy makers have an obligation to act on these commitments to develop, implement and evaluate policy and programming approaches to working with men. These commitments provide civil society activists with leverage to demand rapid implementation.

These international commitments include:

  • The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development
  • The Programme of Action of the World Summit on Social Development (1995)
  • The Beijing Platform for Action (1995)
  • The twenty-sixth special session of the General Assembly on HIV/AIDS (2001)
  • The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), at its 48th session in 2004

To achieve transformative and sustainable social change around gender inequalities, we must go beyond scattered, short-term and small scale interventions and harness all efforts towards systemic, large-scale, and coordinated action. The time has come for us to fulfill these commitments.

Click here for a link to a previous Men Engage conference in Washington, DC

Photo -Creative Commons Attribution Mike Baird on Flickr:

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  1. […] here for a link to a recent conference on engaging men and boys in stopping violence against women. […]

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