Gender equity & male engagement

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Meaningful engagement with men and boys is increasingly recognized as critical to advancing gender equality and equity.
It is necessary not only for women’s empowerment, but also to transform the social and gender norms that reinforce patriarchy and inequality and harm both women and men. The primary challenge embedded in this work is how to engage men and boys effectively without instrumentalizing them as a pathway to women’s empowerment or marginalizing women and girls in the process. Success requires a firm understanding of the conceptual underpinning of male engagement work, how it has been brought to bear in practice, and to what effect.

In this report, supported by Cartier Philanthropy, ICRW provides a historical overview of the nearly 40-year-old male engagement field, as well as guidance for stakeholders on how to support the funding, design, and implementation of programming that engages men and boys in transforming gender norms. The insights we offer are drawn from published and grey literature, key informant interviews (KIIs), and a convening of global experts on male engagement programming for gender equity and women’s empowerment.

Specifically, this report details approaches, challenges, and best practices for working with men to achieve gender equity in six sectors: violence against women and girls, health, economic empowerment, care work and fatherhood, land rights and agriculture, and political participation.
And we offer important considerations for male engagement programming in conflict-affected settings. Throughout the report, we also address how to ensure that engaging men and boys in gender equity programming takes place in collaboration with women and girls, recognizes the power structures that disadvantage them, and acknowledges their lived experiences.