How to Involve Men in Women's Economic Empowerment

The benefits of women’s economic empowerment are well-known and documented in the development literature. Few studies and interventions, however, have explored how men react or can be engaged to enhance such interventions. An article published through the journal Gender and Development presents an evaluation of a pilot project in Rwanda in collaboration with CARE Rwanda’s Village Savings and Loan (VSL) program that deliberately engaged men as partners of women beneficiaries of the micro-credit program. Preliminary results affirm the importance of engaging men in a deliberate questioning of gender norms and power dynamics, so that they can embrace better co-operation and sharing of activities at the household level; and that a ‘do-no-harm’ approach to women’s economic empowerment should involve activities to engage men at the community level in questioning and ending gender-based violence building on those interventions that have shown evidence of changes in men’s attitudes and behaviors related to gender-based violence. 

For more information - and how we work to promote positive masculinities in various fields and most recently with respect to women's economic empowerment.

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  • Badejoko Fabamise

    When men are empowered through education, they become more involved and take action  for and on behalf of women to promote WEE. It is strategic to advancement WEE and will  speed up implementation of the SDGs. With men at the forefront, it will 'reduce resistance women get when they try to come up with ways of empowering themselves economically' as Robert said.


  • Ana Espinosa

    I agree with all of you saying there is a need to engage men in this matter, as Clarissa mention I think we start making men realize about feminism not being against them but  supporting differences to create wealth from all. 

    I recently watch this two videos ( and that I found really interesting and ad hoc for this discussion. The way both of the speakers are addressing gender inequality and inviting men to stand up and act to end up with this is really inspiring, but also transparent, showing of data about how violence against women is also harming men, such as little boys that live in this kind of violent families, where they will tend to continue with this aggressive behavior in the future. They also point out the benefits of being have a more equal relationship but also make men conscious about the privilege position they have and that because of this privilage 1) they stop seing this inequality as something important to address, 2) they need to stand up and use their voice because they have a voice everyone is going to hear and not taking it as an offense. 

  • Tazeen Dhanani

    I read this post today on LinkedIn about an experiment that the leaders at Intuit conducted at their company. Senior-level staff essentially paired up with and mentored/sponsored women who were in the pipeline for being promoted to these higher-level roles, but who weren't quite ready yet. By mentoring and creating opportunities for women to succeed--essentially, by setting women up for success--the men at the company rallied together and prepared their female colleagues to rise in the ranks. All of the men supported the cause, and the company saw immediate results after the first year. So how did they do it? By: (1) identifying mentors for high-performing women; (2) inviting women leaders to participate in staff meetings and strategy sessions; (3) sending women leaders as delegates to meetings; (4) inviting women to staff dinners and informal get-togethers; (5) identifying stretch responsibilities; and (6) holding a monthly skip-level lunch with their team's women leaders. By making a conscientious effort to remove gender disparities and equalize the work environment, men and women were able to support each other, and the entire company was better off as a result. I just hope that more companies adopt these techniques! Read the LinkedIn article here:

  • Involving men in WEE will speed up implementation of women friendly development projects. It will help to reduce resistance women get when they try to come up with ways of empowering themselves economically and to male species, if not involved, is a threat to them. Therefore, men should be involved to make such programmes of WEE to succeed. 

  • Renu Ghimire
    I agree. We should definetly engage men in issues concerning women.After all they are two wheels of the social chariot.
  • Teresa Abila

    Men must be involved in championing for WEE but must first of all believe that women are strong and have the potential of economically contributing.Gender equality cannot really be achieved without involvement of men and boys.Programmes that encourage men and boys to abandon their harmful stereotypes,embrace respectful healthy relationships and reduce violence against women are needed.Boys can be taught such programs while at schools while men can be involved in indepth discussions and comprehensive campaigns focused on WEE.Through such campaigns,men learn alot about themselves and how they can begin addressing this issue of gender inequality.

    Publications advocating for men involvement in women empowerment would also help in terms of spreading the idea globally. 

  • Michel Choto

    Thanks for sharing, i agree that it is very important to include men as they can only help in this cause and speed up progress if they believe in it. There certainly needs to be a mindset shift regarding women belonging in the kitchen and doing household chores only. If men believe that women can be empowered and contribute financially to the family and help alleviate the family from poverty this can help them be more receptive of the idea s they are educated on the benefits of women empowerment. Men do not need to be intimidated or view women empowerment as a negative thing. They need to be involved and not excluded from the process.

  • Feminism has brought attention to many issues that attack women but also issues that attack men. Most of these issues feed on eachother. For example men are pushed to be the economical providers of the families, if they do not perform well they are not men. I have seen a small reportage where men have to leave their studies because they are forced to get marry and be the providers of the family. Which represents a huge load of responsibility on just one gender. Examples that perhaps are more common to see is when we make fun of men that are not so brave or that share their feelings. For some reason men are not allowed to be weak or "less", so, women try to hide if they earn more then their partners or if they are more successful . Women are hiding their success in order to keep their insecured partners happy. I think that the way to engage more men into women empowerment is by showing them how the pressure and stereotypes that are imposed in women are also imposed in men in some other way. I think that could be the starting point and then we could build from there . Next step would be to show how companies can benefit from having gender equality through courses where Feminism 101 can be taught

  • Stella Bakibinga
    In our endeavors to make women economically empowered, we need to make men that it is not all about threatening their masculinity. Men equally play an important role in this struggle and that is why I love the I am (wo)man campaign. It is so inclusive :-)
  • Christina Deakin

    I had a frustrating experience not too long ago. My friend and I were having a conversation with my male volunteer leader. We started talking about women empowerment. He was all for it, but thought it was impossible for him to be a "feminist" because he was a man. My friend and I explained that feminism wasn't only for women but for everyone, but I still don't feel like our words changed him. There is a supposed wall between men and women, and it is important to realize that all people benefit from each other's proper success. It's encouraging to see sites like www.promundo! 

  • Veronica Madrid



    I would like to be part of theses circle. I have studied about gender equality but not much about masculinities, I think man incidence, but mainly visibilization of men conditions in economic society it is very important for cultural change and for eliminate violence


    Best Regards 


  • Anna Bolbasova

    Dear Mary,

    I totally agree with you about importance of men involvement into women’s economic empowerment process.

    When I was writing my thesis dedicated to the problem of female genital mutilation (FGM) eradication, I have found out that too little attention is addressed to men involvement, while the whole progress towards stopping FGM depends on men. Only women cannot stop the practice. In countries, where FGM was a marriage precondition, for women is was important that men will still marry to women who did  not undergo FGM. Those men and women who are against FGM even organized public marriages of women who did not suffer from FGM practice, to show that such women are still desirable by men and that they are suitable for marriage.

    The same with women’s economic empowerment. Men should play active role to show that they support women, who are working, to help women with house work and looking after children, when women will know that they are supported by men, women will be confident and it will definitely go and work, start their business, improve their economic life. Therefore, I think that educational programmes should be organized for both men and women. For countries, with strong male dominance, at first it is better to adopt educational and awareness-raising programmes separately for men and women encourage women and men to communicate and discuss problems, find a way to empower women too, to improve women’s life, to help women to step away from total obedience. Only with support of men it is possible. Probably, in programmes addressed to men it is necessary to underline how men will benefit from women’s economic empowerment, to emphasize that women will still have time for family and house work, to stress that men will be closer to children, it can totally improve family life not only in income.  I think that more and more men are involved into the process of improving women’s life. Moreover, I believe that gender equality issues alongside with human rights issues should be include into school programmes, children spend most of their time at school, so schools can help to build the view of gender equality and encourage girl and boys to build the better world. What can also help is the personal examples of men, who supported women’s empowerment, who is able to share their stories and encourage others to take actions,  to share this stories with the use of mass media, which will help to get more attention from the population to the gender equality problems.    

    Mary, I have checked the link that you have shared with us and I would say that it is extremely interesting and it is also great to know about the variety of men’s involvement into gender equality process. It is also inspiring! Thank you! I would recommend everyone to check your web-site.

  • Severin Dery

    I would also like to share my knowledge and contribution on the top "How to involve men in women's economic empowerment". My contribution would approach it from the gender and sexuality perspective.

    In Uganda, Soroti district to be specific, there has been a health policy that allows for both husband and wife to be present at a health facility to attend health education sessions, HIV counseling and testing before PMTCT (Prevention of mother-to-child transmission) and other reproductive health services can be administered to them. The major goal of the national PMTCT Program is to achieve a new generation that is free of HIV and AIDS in Uganda by reducing the number of HIV positive children born to HIV positive mothers. After all, there is a saying that "health is wealth", so the health of women is paramount as it contributes to the economy of women and their empowerment. There are other studies in the Philippines that also show male involvement has in one way or the other enhanced the empowerment of women.

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