Boys and Young Men for Gender Justice and Social Change
Brief summary of presentation of information made
Breakthrough – India
Began in 1999, which started with using music as a platform as well as a lot of popular culture and technology to raise this issue of gender based violence in India.
In 2008 – they launched a campaign called ‘ring the bell’ – focused on men intervening to prevent domestic violence and protect the women in their communities.
Men and boys have to be part of the solution. The change must be a sustained engagement with them over a long period of time.
The challenge is that the spaces are segregated in India on a gender basis, so there is little interaction between girls and boys. Any mixed spaces are often supervised by older men and women in the communities. These segregated spaces need to be broken down so men (and women) can engage on a deeper level than just superficial assumptions. Language needs to be inclusive – men need to seen as part of the solution.
School of Visual Arts using interaction Design
Question: Where does “cat calling” come from?. The problem starts with men – women are the victims and have to deal with the issue.
Project to create a innovative device that records on a 30 second loop and when a women hears a ‘cat call’ or inappropriate comment she can press a button on the device that sends an audio file of a recorded cat call to the men in her life (ie male friends, brothers, father etc) so that men can also be included in the cat calling experience and have greater empathy with women and the daily low level harassment they can experience.
Implicit bias works its way into our cultures and this comes out in both men and women. At present, reseach projects active to conduct social experiments which are designed to remove men from their own subjectivity (which is conditioned by the culture that they live in.) The aim is ultimately to get men to change their behavior through these experiences.
Example Men : listening and feeling to what it feels like to be objectivized by another man.
Example Men : exchanging names with a woman co-worker and experience how women are spoken to in the workplace
- Diversity matters in all cultural contexts.
- Men need to start to proactively support and buy more products made by women
Youth for Change and Development
Working with men in Afghanistan
Organization working closely with both genders by engaging them and realising women’s rights
Coming from a war affected country and a very traditional society, this is very challenging.
Extremism is rampant
30million are illiterate.
Next Gen Men
This organisation runs afterschool programmes. They are based in Canada and promote equality mainly aiming at males, especially young boys of school age.
It was started in response to the traditional views of masculinity and how this effects men. Next Gen Men wants to create spaces where they can talk about these issues with young men and boys.
It has developed a 10 week afterschool programme and the sessions include games and some guided discussions that challenge the stereotypes around gender. The sessions are typically very active, fun and engaging – facilitators have a theatre background and use this to get young boys to think about different emotions that they experience.
It was started in just two schools but now moving into 14 around Toronto.
They are seeing some movement in the boy’s attitudes towards gender norms.
Commission for Youth and Gender Equality Network
Non binary people (not identifying as male or female) are not mentioned in law in general and therefore they are not protected – in reality this means that these people are ‘non-existent’ – this is very problematic.
All men and All women must include people who are not binary specific
Masculinity can be damaging – the assumption that all boys will be “good men” and very manly and strong is toxic;
“Masc for masc” is a highly ingrained idea about what is ‘good’ masculinity. Therefore a feminine man cannot pass as “straight” which creates this binary gender stereotyping; this is very difficult for people that do not align themselves to either gender. Men are not allowed to embrace femininity. These issues are extremely relevant to the high levels of suicide rates in Australia.
Only one country has banned genital mutilation of intersex infants – this is Malta.
Gender equality needs to be inclusive of every gender in this space – not just male and female
The persuasiveness of masculinity is seen as ‘the’ power – if this is going to be dismantled then we need to ensure that men are allowed to embrace and hold onto their own femininity and this is not seen as less powerful.
Language is very important; recognize that any single person can suffer, not just women – all will need support but the needs are specific.
What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?
When the Army says ‘all men and all women’, it is necessary to recognize that some who are involved in our programmes may not define themselves in this binary way; ie male or female. It is therefore important that activities are inclusive and sensitive to these individuals.