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  • Esther Gonzàlez & Betty Chepngeno Ngeno

The role of men in gender mainstreaming: allies and advocates

In collaboration with the NGO Girls in Global

Gender mainstreaming has been embraced as a strategy, which includes women and men’s concerns and experiences, assesses the different implications that any planned action has for women and men and ensures everyone benefits equally in order to guarantee that gender inequality is not perpetuated.

Better results mean increased well-being for both women and men, and the creation of a more socially just and sustainable society.

Male inclusion in the gender mainstreaming process is crucial to improve as a strategy in order to achieve gender equality. They must be educated on experiences and challenges women face and be an ally to transform different realities we live in.

Gender roles and gender stereotypes increase gender inequality because of the construction and reproduction of harming forms of masculinity and push into the background the position of women.

Furthermore, men must include the interventions of women and girls, support their participation and guarantee these are not derailed by male resistance. It’s important to improve communication, share responsibilities and improve equal access to opportunities.

Preventing men's violence against women and advancing gender equality requires men and boys to be part of the solution. Engaging men and boys with evidence-based strategies will help stop violence before it starts while embedding and cultivating a long-term vested interest in gender and social justice. To do this, men and boys need to be able to develop healthy and positive identities and emotionally self-regulate (through social-emotional learning [SEL]); embody gender equitable norms and behaviors; have the skills to disrupt sexism and violence within themselves and their peers; embrace nonviolence; have the skills to heal, repair, and manage conflict; are accountable; and actively inspire their peers, colleagues, and children to do the same. Critically, this includes creating the conditions that support and reinforce gender equitable behaviors, such as through gender equitable organizational policies, institutional reform, movement-building, and systems change.

How to engage men and boys involves understanding what gets men to “come to the table” in the first place—and how to keep them there. Men in privileged positions within diverse social, political and economic fora may use their influence to echo messages of equality and lead by example among their peers, catalyzing impact and triggering truly transformative change towards gender equality and making it everyone’s responsibility.

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