Thursday, March 19, 2015

Where my boys at? At the CSW!

At the CSW we talk a lot about emerging issues that affect women and men around the world. We also talk about the emerging themes that come up in our field of work. The role of men and boys in the fight for gender equality and empowerment of women has become increasingly popular topic. The importance of engaging men and boys is now officially recognized in the political declaration and several outcome document of CSW over the last years.

Although the masculinities movement is not new at all, its visibility and the amount of attention for the role of men and boys is bigger than ever at this CSW. The room where the Panel discussion The responsibility of men andboys in achieving gender equality' was held on Monday was bursting out of its seams.

Yesterday, Joni van de Sand, co-coordinator and advocacy manager of the MenEngageAlliance, presented the oral statement of the MenEngage Alliance. The statement lay bare the damaging effects of patriarchal norms and powerstructures for women and girls, as well as men and boys. It made an urgent call to overcome gender injustices that are induced by patriarchal norms. In the statement, Joni further stressed how MenEngage Alliance builds on the heritage of the feminist and women’s movement and how they will continue to work in solidarity and though being informed by the women’s movement. There was also a moment of self-reflection on the work that is being done with men and boys, the growing attention, and how to proceed:

‘There has been a lot of attention for engaging men and boys at this CSW. We welcome that. We welcome that the Political Declaration includes a paragraph. Overall, we hear a lot of excitement. However, projects are often small-scale and short-term. It is time to implement and scale-up. We are calling for institutionalization of work with men and boys in policies and programs – in schools, the work-place, and in creating an enabling environment at home.’

During the Panel onChanging social norms to achieve gender equality - expectations and opportunities’ on Monday, Joni made an oral intervention on behalf of the MenEngage Alliance that was the result of a brainstorm with members at MenEngage Caucus. It was for the first time at CSW that this Caucus was formed and has been working together. The full oral intervention can be found here.

=Sanne Holtslag on behalf of WO=MEN Dutch Gender Platform=