Have Your Say! Online Consultation for the Youth Forum at CSW61 on Partnerships with Young Men in Gender Equality

The Youth Forum is a critical opportunity for young people in all their diversities to openly and strategically discuss the challenges and opportunities for achieving gender equality and sustainable development in our local, national, regional, and global contexts, and to amplify common concerns and advocacy efforts in advance of CSW61. 

Recognizing that many young people will not be attending the Youth Forum and CSW61 in person, all young people and stakeholders from around the world are invited to participate in this online consultation and provide their input on the key themes of the Youth Forum: Young Women’s Leadership, Young Women’s Economic Empowerment, Partnerships with Young Men in Gender Equality, and Inter-generational Partnerships. 

Between February and March, young people and stakeholders from across the globe will be invited to contribute to the discussion using the Empower Women’s web platform and respond to prompts related to the four main themes of the Youth CSW61.

We encourage young people aged 18-35 to add their voices! 

Week III

Topic of consultation: Partnerships with Young Men in Gender Equality

Duration: 22 - 28 February 2017

Moderators: Sailesh, Jacob & Jason

Sailesh Singhal - is a youth activist uniting efforts at the community level for ending violence against women and girls. Email.

Jacob Thomas - is a LGBTQIA+ youth expert, and recent awardee as one of two Australian Queen's Young Leaders in 2016. Email

Jason Tan de Bibiana - works with Next Gen Men to promote gender equity and healthy masculinities and co-chairs the Task Force on Partnerships with Young Men in Gender Equality with the UN IANYD Working Group on Youth and Gender Equality. Email.

Questions for discussion:

Q.1. Why should young men care about gender equality and what? What prevents young men from supporting gender equality?

Q.2. How can young men promote young women’s economic empowerment? Please share specific examples.

Q.3. How can governments, civil society, and other organizations encourage young men to support gender equality? Please share specific examples of policies, programs, and initiatives.

Q.4. How can young men partner with LGBTQI organizations to achieve gender equality?

Q.5. How can young men work within their own spaces and communities to promote gender equality? Please share specific examples.

Hashtags used on social media: #YouthCSW61 

  • Mayukh Sen
    A2 . Talking about young men contributing towards women's economic empowerment, it is very evident to note that the contribution should start from a grassroot level. Grassroot level portrays developing the psychology of young men. Let us keep in mind the stereotype that this society banks on, the idea of women having all responsibilities of household activities. The fact is if young men respects what women are doing around and get involved in household activities giving the same importance it would help in developing their psyche towards women's economic empowerment. If an youth from a very small age is negligent of giving importance to the so called "Male Ego" and contribute to the daily chores along with women to divide the work betweent them so that each women can also give importance to their academics or professional environment, then  women empowerment is not difficult to achieve. Lastly we must understand that developing the ideology among young men about the value of women will call for a change in today's world.

    Keeping that in mind I, Mayukh Sen,  with the support of Amnesty International Bangalore, India will be hosting a film festival at St. Joseph's College (Autonomous),Bangalore on Gender Diversity to be held on 2nd and 3rd of March. The idea of this event is to give a platform to the youth to raise their voice against gender discrimination and contribute towards curbing gender stereotype.
    Link- https://twitter.com/MayukhSen24/status/836995563484774400

  • Mengdi Wu
    Q5. How can young men work within their own spaces and communities to promote gender equality? Please share specific examples.

    A5: Speak up so people are aware of the issues existing in the community. Young leaders such as Sailesh are promoting gender equality in local community. Also HeForShe ambassadors are also very important to speak about the gender issues, such as Jack Ma, Usain Bolt. Because to engage such role models from different industry can really create awareness to get more people involved, because we look up to them, entrepreneurs, Olympic Champions, etc.
  • Lynda Mbala
    Q5: How can young men work within their own spaces and communities to promote gender equality? Please share specific examples.

         In many societies across the world, men are the privileged gender. Across the board, their voices will ring louder, and have more of an impact than others. In knowing this then, it is imperative to use that power to change these norms.

         The Internet and social media specifically, should serve as a major tool for young men to promote gender equality within their communities. Men and women alike use these platforms to share and debate issues that are relevant to their environments. Unfortunately, many are prone to sharing vulgar, insulting and demeaning texts over social media only to get support from their peers that are within their communities.

         In 2014, a woman walking in the streets of Nairobi was stripped naked and assaulted by a group of men because they claimed that she was indecently dressed. The incident went viral on social media. Men and women on Facebook, Twitter and others justified the actions of the aggressors. But the questions are these: if a man was in a similar position, would he be subjected to the same? Are men ever considered indecent in their form of dress? Would there be similar reactions on social media if the roles were reversed?

         Such instances provide men an opportunity to advocate for others in public spheres. They are opportunities that should be used to enlighten other members of the community whose views are opposing gender equality.  This also goes along with day-to-day interactions. When gender minorities engage in fora aimed at development, men should support them by showing up and participating. If men, especially those in influential positions, were to voice opinions that are consistently supportive of gender equality, they would make a difference.

         Women in communities that lack resources tend to be the ones that have to compensate for their scarcities. For example, a rural community that does not have adequate water access will require women and girls to go out, fetch and bring back water, sometimes walking long distances to reach their source. Fetching water- a basic need- takes time away from any potential income generating activities for women, and is more of a priority than going to school for young girls. If a borehole could be dug nearer to this community, then women and girls could spend time focusing on matters more likely to empower them. Young men have the power to lobby for the betterment of their communities such as in advocating for a borehole or well as mentioned in the circumstances described.

         These two examples are different yet, informing issues that are relevant for discussions regarding gender equality. I am hoping to discuss this and more regarding the role of the youth in empowering all at #youthcsw61

  • Ken Anvire

    Q1 Why should young men care about gender equality and what? What prevents young men from supporting gender equality

     Caring about and advocating for gender equality is essential for the development of a just society. Our world has been rightfully bombarded with respectable initiatives such has the SDG’s advocating for a better planet. The participation of all actors is therefore requested.
    With that thought in mind, I believe it to be primordial for Young Men to be educated towards breaking the negative concepts lying within the idea of masculinity (ex being Macho etc.).
    Young men have to understand and realize that, given the context in which they are placed, a negative thought process could potentially hinder them.  

    Not only would it compel them to disallow other human beings from enjoying the same Human rights that they are enjoying, young men could also become victims or internal conflicts when a situation presents itself requiring an emotional response deemed “unmanly”. Current societal concepts certainly complicate young men for supporting gender equality but it is time for those societal norms to be broken.
    Writing these lines makes me think of lyrics by hip hop artist Tupac Shakur.  Tupac sang “since we all came from a woman, got our name form a woman, and our game from a woman. I wonder why we take from our women”. 
    Certainly these lines are indicative of women‘s plight within society. A questioning of the norms can be observed in his lyrics. Im wanting to say  that, in addition to women,  these lines could be adapted to groups that are traditionally marginalized within our society (such as LGBTQ).  A more equitable world would create for better opportunities for men, women, LGBTQ etc.  
    Utlimately , I believe that  questioning the status quo is a task that young men should be happy to embrace.

    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Hey Ken,

      Thanks so much for joining the discussion! Appreciate you sharing those lyrics from Tupac. I remember discovering his music for the first time when I was a lot younger and you're reminding me of a couple really powerful songs - Keep Ya Head Up, Dear Mama, Brenda's Got A Baby etc. I agree that lyric definitely could apply/be relevant to other groups that experience oppression, inequality, and violence in our societies, including LGBTQIA groups. 

      Can you share any examples or insights for our other questions? E.g. Q3 How can governments, civil society, and other organizations encourage young men to support gender equality?

      I know you're involved in lots of community organizing locally - would love to hear where you think the opportunities are to involve and engage more young men in gender justice and how to link it to other social justice issues that are currently at the forefront. 

    1 of 1 Replies
  • Grace Pisirai
    In Zimbabwe we have the Padare Mens Forum on Gender. It traces its beginnings to 1995, when a group of five male visionaries held informal meetings to consider how men could contribute to the debate and actions on gender issues following the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. In the mobilizing years (1995-2001), the male visionaries used their own resources to organize meetings in public places to share information and knowledge on women’s rights and to exchange their experiences and progress in mobilizing other men to participate in the movement for a gender just society.

    Among other events teh have held  to support gender equality, last year 2016, they held a campaign dabbed  Real Men Nail It during the 16 days of activism against gender based violence from 25th of November to the 10th of December 2016 with theme “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All”.
    This campaign ran as an online drive through social media platforms [Facebook] with an aim to get 100 000 men and boys across all social, political, religious and cultural divides to come together during the 16 Days and stand in solidarity against domestic violence and GBV by painting their fingers or a finger orange and posting online a picture of themselves with their orange finger nails and a statement under their nail and face reading: “I would rather paint my hand orange and raise it against domestic violence rather than raise this very hand to harm a woman”

    As part of efforts to support women's health, Padare and its partners are offered free cancer related health services for women at the Women Action Group offices in Harare on the 1st of November 2016.

    Padare has also held dialogues including a music concert in October 2016 with men urging Zimbabwean men to action against  child marriages.
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  • Grace Pisirai

    Understanding men’s attitudes, their behaviours towards family, relationships and community life, as well as the underlying factors that prompt and support their dominance over women and girls, is crucial in bringing about a gender equitable society. Notions of masculinity must be understood in relation to how women are viewed and treated by men and how women view and treat men and boys, so we can encourage gender equitable masculinities that dismantle barriers to gender equality.

    ‘Men are the gatekeepers of current gender orders and are potential resistors of change. If we do not effectively reach men and boys, many of our efforts will be either thwarted or simply ignored.’ (Kaufman in Ruxton, 2004:20)

    Hence, it is essential and advisable that both men and women work towards shifting gender norms. Not engaging men and boys may limit the effectiveness of development interventions and may actually  intensify gender inequalities.

    Interventions aimed improving women's employment and income generating opportunities are liekly to compound women's heavy work burdens unless efforts are made to encourage men to take greater responsibility in child care and domestic chores.

    Programmes to empower women to negotiate safe sex may have minimal impact in societies where man decide when and whom to have sex and when and if to use condoms. Assumptions in many culture  that 'real men' do not get sick coupled with notions that mens sexual needs are uncontrollable or that men should have multiple sexual partners places them and their partners at risk of HIV infection.

    b) Research consistently shows that men’s behaviour – whether it is related to physical violence (in and outside the home), domestic work, caregiving, health-seeking behaviours, contraceptive use and HIV and STI prevention among others – tends to be influenced by their conformity with rigid and/or inequitable social norms traditionally tied to masculinity.
    These dominant masculine norms are one of the main factors driving gender inequality. Men in dominant social groups view gender equality as threat to their privileges and an attack on their way of life.

    Yet dominant masculinities are not achievable for all men. For many men there is a significant gap between the dominant model of masculinity in society and the reality of what they themselves can acheieve esp. in case of low income men and men who have sex with men MSM. Social pressures to conform to dominant versions fo masculinity are often very intense and the consequences of not conformign can be severe, from rape cases and risk of HIV infection in MSM, to traffic accidents and homicides. Some men unable to fulfil the traditional gender roles of being primary bread winners turn to domestic violence women and children as a way of displaying power and so they can 'feel like man'.

    So these inequitable ideas that underpin what it means to be a man and a woman in many societies don’t just impact on women, but have consequences for men, their relationships with women and their families. Making men aware of the costs of conventional forms of masculinity  both for themselves and for women and children is an important step towards challenging gender inequality.
    ‘Unless men’s practices, attitudes, and relations change, efforts to promote gender equality will face an uphill struggle.’ (Ruxton, 2004:5)

    Equality programmes should help men both to understand oppressive effects of gender inequality on women and men while also talking to them about the responsibilities they have because of their privileges to take action in ways that women usually can not.
    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Hey Grace,

      Those quotes from Kaufman/Ruxton about men as the gatekeepers/resistors of change are great reminders... including your examples of how health, development, employment programs that may not be successful in improving opportunities and outcomes for women and girls if they do not address the barriers and resistance from men.

      I appreciated what you added about norms about masculinity as well. I think this is a foundational piece for any efforts to engage and build partnerships with men and boys in gender equality and justice.  As you discussed, these gender norms affect men in many different ways, whether they are low-income, MSM, fathers and husbands. Self-preservation often underlies some of the most negative consequences in the conflict between those who want to fit in and maintain the status quo, and those who want to break free of pressure to conform and to be themselves. 

      Besides the great work of the group you shared for Q3, have you observed any successes or challenges in helping men understand the negative impacts of gender inequalities and dominant gender norms? What about the next generation - what are you observing among boys and younger men?
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Sabir Ali
    Q1; Part 1: Why Young Men should care about Gender equality?
    Ans: men should care about gender equality both within and outside the work context because they will:
    1. Benefit from the better decisions and reduced risks for workplaces and the community, resulting from the greater sharing of power and decision-making in public and private life.
    2. Experience enhanced psychological development and well-being resulting from their being active participants in the process of change to improve outcomes for women in terms of economic and social resources, power, work opportunities, and health and well-being.
    3. Work in organisations that are more productive and creative, resulting from workplaces having a greater diversity of perspectives.
    4. Work with the best people, resulting from the workforce being drawn from a broader talent pool.
    5. Experience higher quality work resulting from greater teamwork and collaboration, and a reduced emphasis on competitiveness.
    6. Experience lower levels of stress and higher levels of well-being, resulting from having a greater investment in life outside work.  
    7. Have higher quality personal/intimate relationships and improved well-being, resulting from having personal lives that are based on gender equality in relationships.  For those who are partnered, this should also result in improved economic security and social well-being. 
    8. Experience enhanced personal growth and development, as well as increased skills, resulting from being actively involved as fathers and by making a significant contribution to their children’s well-being.   
    9. Experience greater life satisfaction, resulting from increased involvement in caring for people who are elderly, disabled or ill. 
    10. Experience increased satisfaction/well-being resulting from being active participants in a significant process of change.
  • Valentin Camaño

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  • Luz Maria Utrera
    Q5.  How can young men work within their own spaces and communities to promote gender equality? Please share specific examples.

    Men can start by taking ownership of efforts to advance women empowerment, as well as, acknowledge women empowerment as the cumulative effect of the total changes needed for a woman to realize her full human rights.

    Men can also take leadership in breaking the "glass ceiling" for women in the workplace. Men can promote gender equality by standing up for the injustices and stereotypes inflicted on women and also by rejecting toxic male behaviors. For example working for a Womens Foundation, speaking out when their friends make dumb jokes

    Increasing their participation in the home is another way men can promote gender equality. When men share housework and childcare, not only do they benefit but their children and wives live happier, healthier lives.
  • Luz Maria Utrera
    Q1. Why should young men care about gender equality and what? What prevents young men from supporting gender equality?

    There is a long standing misconception that gender equality benefits women at the expense of men. In actuality, men should care about and support gender equality because the possibilities of social and economic equality translate to an improved quality of life for men as well. 

    While investigating the connections between quality of life and gender equality, Øystein Gullvåg Holter found that men who live in gender equal societies enjoy a better quality of life than men who live in less gender equal societies. Men's participation in the home for example, improves the society as a whole. Equally, male executives in companies will find that companies which are more gender equal have better workers and a happier labor force. These companies also have an easier time recruiting, higher rates of retention, higher jobs satisfaction and higher levels of productivity. 

    Men should care about gender equality not only because it is the just thing to do but also because, gender equality offers possibilities for richer, more meaningful and happier lives with their friends, co-workers, partners and children. Feminism is for men also, It drops toxic masculinity expectations and encourages men to express their emotions and be free of stereotypes.

    What prevents men from supporting gender equality is a widespread belief that equality will not benefit men. Another barrier to providing support are the structural values and norms that continue to reinforce gender inequality across the various facets of society through socialization. Also Misogynistic culture prevents men from supporting gender equality.
  • Fasiha Farrukh
    A5- Young men can start from their daily life, change your behaviours towards gender equality and show others that what it should be like. I am certain that many people will follow the lead & positive message will be delivered. 
    Engage fellow men in this practice that gender equality is now an integral part of our lives and we need to accept the presence of women & LGBTQI along with their participation in different walks of life. This is tough & require pretty much of hard work, especially if you are in a stereotype environment, but it will surely make an impact if you know how to deliver the message, which could be done via small discussions, by encouraging women to participate in various activities, via interactive workshops, etc. 
  • Fasiha Farrukh
    A3- With proper programs & campaigns supported by governments, can definitely make a change towards the Gender Equality goal. Even if civil society is coming forward with a campaign, the government must look into its potential and play its active part in making it a success. 
    Men are the catalyst of change for gender equality goal! If they decide to take initiative, we can definitely make a greater impact over our societies. This is can be possible when govs, civil society & organisations design specific programs for men to play their part, educate them in schools, colleges, work place & university about their importance for the implementation of gender equality. 

    A4- Create awareness amongst your circle about LGBTQI & their rights. Spreading the word can help in dealing with the wrong perception, informing people about the core  reality, etc. 
    Moreover, if you belong to LGBTQI org, then focus on including these people into mainstream discussions, employements & other forums to enhance their participation.  So that we could count them within the society instead of distinguishing them as a separate participants. 
    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Hey Fasiha -- thanks for responding to all our questions! Could you share a bit more about the communities and context that you have experience and knowledge of? I am curious if/how LGBTQI organizations participate in and/or are included in gender equality movements and if/how young men are getting involved in supporting gender equality and LGBTQI rights and causes.
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Malvika Iyer
    A2 Men who participate in household activities from an early age are more likely to support women in their families who wish to complete their education and pursue activities that economically empower themselves and their families. They also value women as integral members of the family and community. 
  • Sanjog Thakuri
    A1. Why should young men care about gender equality and what? What prevents young men from supporting gender equality?

    Men must take step forward on Gender Equality to give same value, respect to Women as a Human of this society since women has been doing so from their part since an ages. In my point of view there are 2 factors which hiders (young) men to realize the gender equality:

    1. Values: Values are something which grow us and plays a vital role with us from back of the mind. A boy who grow up enjoying being a boy by not doing anything and seeing how painful to become a girl would never love to jump in a same bucket because for them doing the thing which girls has been doing are painful and against their role or responsibility. It questiones their ego and value which they have been taught, practiced and ejoying. Honestly it is not easy for a boy or Men to realize the importance of women because when he does he has to step up against society, their family, cultural norms which mostly people do not bother to raise against it. Though it is not impossible but not easy one. While saying this I am not undermining the roles women but the culture given to us always challenges the Men to their knowledge in every step.
    2. Misconception: Whenever I visit UN agencies or INGOs where they have GESI (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion) focal person it's female and they always talk about women empowerment only which somehow teaches the men (and women too) that gender equality is only about women whereas it is actually about Men and LGBTIQ too. Feminism is not about hating Men but respecting all the gender. Feminism and Gender Equality also talks about discrimination between Women who has been getting opportunity v/s those hard to reach. So it is important to teach the concept clearly then they may also sees their part of share too. Feminist is not agaisnt Menism.
    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Hey Sanjog,

      Thanks for joining the discussion!

      The view that 'gender equality is only about women' is definitely a common misconception. When did you come to realize that gender equality affects people of all genders? Have you observed anything that has helped change this misconception among your peers?
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Sinéad Nolan

    Q1. Young men should care about gender equality first and foremost out of concern for human rights and equality, and a desire to create a world for our generation and those to come where human rights are respected and people of all genders can fulfil their potential. Young men should also support gender equality because patriarchy harms them too, through rigid social norms and expectations about masculinity. These social norms create an impossible ideal of manhood that can lead to frustration depression and violence if men are unable to fulfil this stereotypical role. They leave men unable to express their emotions and condone violence as a legitimate way for young men to express themselves. Young men need to realise that a more gender equal world would benefit everyone in it, leaving us all freer to be ourselves and enjoy healthy relationships with each other.

    Q2. Governments have a really important role to play in engaging young men in gender equality, especially through education systems that promote gender equality. As many other contributors have pointed out, young men are often unaware of gender issues and how they may contribute to gender equality. Schools have a responsibility therefore to educate both young men and young women in these issues including through comprehensive sexuality education, to explore students perceptions of gender norms around masculinity and femininity, to promote non stereotypical role models and to provide young men with concrete ideas and opportunities to act for gender equality.

    Civil society organizations are currently doing great work to engage young men in gender equality. I work with MenEngage Alliance, a global network of over 700 civil society organizations working to transform masculinities and engage men and boys in gender equality. For an example of some of our members initiatives with young men you can check out the latest issue of Voice Male magazine which is a special collaboration with MenEngage. For example, an initiative by CARE Balkans in Kosovo that uses rap music to teach young men about healthy masculinity, or an initiative in India that uses audio stories and smart phone technology to engage young men in sexual and reproductive health and rights.

    With such initiatives, it is really important that they are planned and implemented in collaboration with women’s rights groups and organizations, are accountable to the principles of feminism and truly achieve the kind of social norms transformation necessary to advance gender equality. ‘Engaging men and boys’ should not be seen as an end in itself, but rather a means to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

    Q5. I really like other participants suggestion that gender equality starts in the home. One of most simple way for young men to promote gender equality and to really show they practice what they preach is to take on an equal share of care work within their families. Another important way for young men to stand up for gender equality is to call out other young men in their schools or communities that speak disrespectfully about women or the LGBTQI community. Many young men I know believe in gender equality but remain silent in these situations. I know it takes bravery to call out other men, but it’s time for men to step up and act on their beliefs!

    As an overall point, the key thing for young men is to reflect on and be aware of their privilege and how that plays out in their community, and seek to use that privilege to empower those without it. This may involve stepping back to let women’s voices be heard. While the participation and support of young men in achieving gender equality is absolutely crucial, women should ultimately lead this task.

    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Thank you Sinéad! Love these answers. 

      The latest issue of Voice Male magazine with projects and initiatives from civil society groups and MenEngage Alliance members in Kosovo, India, Uganda, and more is a great resource.

      Are there specific governments that you know of that are leading the way when it comes to engaging young men in gender equality, through the education system or otherwise?

      I really appreciate your points encouraging young men to work in collaboration with women's rights groups and organizations, be accountable to the prinicples of feminism, and reflect on and be aware of their privilege. 

      We'd love to hear if you have any additional thoughts on 'How can young men promote young women’s economic empowerment?' (Q2) and 'How can young men support LGBTQIA inclusion in gender equality?' (Q4).
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Muhammad Mandoori
    A1: Why should young men care about gender equality? Because gender equality is not talking about one gender or being discriminative or being gender specific, it rather means going together in hand in hand for betterment of the society by giving more opportunities and advocating more for underprivileged groups like women, LGBTIQ. As we all know in most of the world, male voice is more heard than female especially in family. So if the male member of the family raise the voice in the house against the gender discrimination then it is easier for female/ LGBTIQ member of the family to speak up. It goes same with the state, if every male starts to question about the gender discrimination then the state is compelled to look upon the mentioned points.

    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Hey Muhammad - thanks for so much for joining the discussion!

      Do young men, and young people of other genders, in your community have access to the policymakers and decisionsmakers in government to raise these issues about gender-based discrimination? What do you think about the second part of Q1 - What prevents young men from supporting gender equality?

      I'm glad you brought up LGBTIQ issues as well... what do you think about Q4 - How can young men partner with LGBTQIA+ organizations to achieve gender equality?
    1 of 1 Replies
  • Sally Martin
    Q5. Young men can be act as great catalysts to promoting gender equality.
    And while charity begins at home this also should apply to gender equity. Common examples are sharing responsilities with their sisters or females at home, school and even work.

    Being that in most African communities and cultures duties such as cooking and generally house chores were meant to be for girls while Leadership and most top positions are meant for men.  it is high time this young generation changed the narrative to achieve gender equality through influencing the women to leadership and supporting them in all aspects, accepting and embracing the change.
    • Sally Martin
      Hi Jason,

      Feminism is in the blood for very few people. What I observed especially from my community where I was able to hold a heforshe event and had a constructive dialogue with the men, Is that most men are tied down to the cultural beliefs but my argument was if some culture are not building us or it's people then there is no point of holding onto such cultures.
      Men especially in the villages believe that all those kind of home jobs are women's. 
      It came to my attention that while holding the same discussion with women they are more receptive and ready to guide they their male children into a more gender sensitive life.
      elderly Men are a bit hesitant and therefore it is our young generation that can spearhead this as it is hard to bend an old tree but that doesn't mean we should quit trying to change this narrative for all persons.
    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Thanks so much for sharing and adding to the discussion Sally. I saw from your profile that you are based in Nairobi, Kenya. Are there any interesting projects or initiatives happening, or changes that you have observed in your community? 
    2 of 2 Replies
  • Leah Davidson
    Q.1. I believe that young men should care about gender equality because it affects the future, in terms of opportunities for their daughters and granddaughters, doubles the potential of intellectual capital and ideas in the workplace, and also reduces stereotypes, leading to greater opportunities for men as well by broading access to careers and fields of study for both genders. Lack of awareness, cultural/religious/family norms, and instinct to preserve the status quo are a few reasons why men may not actively support gender equality. Men may also fear ridicule for being perceived as less "masculine" by publicly supporting women's issues.

    Q.2. At my current company, we are lacking female representation at senior leadership positions. A few initiatives the company is trying are creating implicit bias trainings for male colleagues and advisors in performance reviews, creating more sponsorship opportunities for young women, and starting more open fora to discuss issues faced by women. Often, men are not necessarily trying to be discriminatory, but may lack knowledge and awareness of what they can do to help. 

    Q.3. Governments and civil society organizations can involve men in dialogue, peer-to-peer education, formal pledges of solidarity, and advocacy in their workplaces and cities for inclusive policymaking. A few examples of programs involving men in women's empowerment are MenEngage Alliance, HeforShe, and Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault (student group at many universities). 
    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Hey Leah, that is so cool to hear about the efforts and initiatives happening at your current company! How are they being received from your male colleagues, your female colleagues, and those in leadership positions? Was there something that motivated your company, or individuals within your company, to focus on these issues?
    • Jacob Thomas
      Really interesting points you've raised here, Leah.

      On Q1, men's participation for gender equality can have a real impact on ensuring women, girls, and people of other genders are able to see themselves as good enough. While many of us have been saying this for most of our lives, it really helps when men and boys get behind our movements. 
      It's so important that you've brought up the issue of men coming across as 'less masculine' when they support women's rights and the rights of gender minorities - by supporting experiences of feminine identity, feminism, and LGBTQIA+ rights, we can open up the opportunities for men to also express themselves in a more comfortable manner. 

      On Q2, it's great you've brought up the issue of unconscious bias. Men and boys do need to be mindful of how they benefit, often unintentionally, from systems of power in the workplace, and creating more direct spaces and opportunities for women and people of other genders makes a strong impact. Perhaps, sometimes the best way we can make change is by stepping back from the leading position.

      On Q3, again, really valid points regarding men's engagement. Good mention of programs, too. Can you think of any other grassroots organisations/groups/initiatives? We'd love to hear of them!

      If you have anything to contribute to Q4 and Q5 please don't hesitate to write them in a reply below. 

      Thanks so much!
    2 of 2 Replies
  • Hasan Ansari
    A5: Firstly, a young men should keep in mind that gender equality is human rights and it should be implemented in his daily life. A young men should always treat a women with respect and believe that she is equal! After that, within his work space, if there are some people who are discriminating women, He should stand up for the women and make sure that his co-workers also respect and treat women as equal. Because, if you, yourself a young men is supporting or promoting gender equality doesnt mean that your work is finished. You have to stand up as well and prove that you seriously think and believe in gender equality.
    • Sailesh Singhal
      Thank you so much Hasan for sharing your insight on the discussions. Hasan, you have been specific with what a young men should do for reducing the discrimination against women in the work space. But how can we inculcate that mind set among the men to aggressively stand up for it, as you mentioned it might also lead to their work getting over? Are you aware about any such young men who have stood up for this cause or are you one of them? Could you share some real life instances or examples? Secondly, how can we partner with other colleagues in their work spaces to implement such strategies? 
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  • Nwedobong Okon
    A5: To buttress this point which I may have touched upon briefly in answering Q1, men still constitute a significant force for social change and women are still more accepting of a man's leadership while being more critical of a woman's leadership, thus, men can take advantage of this dynamics and lend their voices and or express an attitude that encourages the women around them to be confident and to attempt leadership and fearlessly pursue their ambitions. Other men are encouraged to stand up and speak up for the rights of the people who are disadvantaged. The problem with attaining this feat however is the keen observation that what most of the male participants in gender equality bring to the table is seemingly a form of tokenism to gender equality and that needs to be looked into.
    • Jacob Thomas
      This is a really important point you raise, Nwedobong!
      It's important for us to unpack why we value men's presence in top jobs/states of power than we do women's and people of other genders. Though, as you have pointed out, if they can utilise it for the benefit of getting women and people of other genders into those positions so we can speak on our own behalf then it is a pretty good practice to support for the interim.
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  • Nwedobong Okon
    A2: Young men can promote women empowerment starting from home, taking it to their social circles, & using the social media. At home, brothers can lift the social limitations placed on women from the home front by allowing their sisters access to information and activities that females are often denied for the mere fact that they are females. They can empower their sisters by passing empowering messages and letting them know that their gender is not a determinant of what they should aspire to or can do. Fathers also play a major role. For example, during a conference where I was opportuned to interact with my consultants, they all attested to their father's influence on their progress & particularly pointed out that their father's support for their chosen career boosted their confidence greatly through their journeys to the top.

    Men can share their professional experiences with women and bring to fore what they have seen to stand against women's peak performances at work & leadership, and also point out to men how the unconscious social biases they exhibit stands to hinder the work of gender equality and the socioeconomic growth of the society at large.
    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Yes! I think understanding and addressing unconscious bias is an important strategy to promote gender equality, and I'm glad to see that many workplaces are starting to think about this. Are there any good examples that you have come across? 
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  • Nwedobong Okon
    A1. Men should care about gender equality for personal, social & economical reasons. Gender equality leaves room for everyone to attain their full individual and socioeconomic potentials and access social acceptance no matter their personality choices. Because of the present social conditions that are yet to be overturned, men still retain the strong & easier to be heard voices worldwide. Their ability to impact changes in the work of gender equality is remarkably outstanding. I base this deductions on my observations on the social media, facebook specifically, a male gets significantly higher numbers of likes when he makes a post in favour of gender equality than a female does even though the female may have a richer or stronger case. When I further try to evaluate the proportion of female:male who liked the male's post, I find that more females than males liked the post. I also find out that more males also liked the male's post in comparison to the female's post. I further observe that the females who gravitate towards the posts made by the males are mutual friends with the female as well, which means they also saw the post by the female and just didn't show support by pressing the like button.

    Why don't men support gender equality? The reason from my observations is that most males do not recognize that the present system of inequality also victimises them, thus they mostly have the notion that gender equality is about women liberation. This calls for a need to stress the disadvantages that the present system of inequality also creates for males. It is important also to stress that patriarchy victimises every member of the society including the unborn child. 
    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Hey Nwedobong, thanks for these thoughtful answers!

      I'm really interested in your first point about how men and women's support for gender equality is perceived differently, as well as what you mentioned in your other answer about 'tokenism' of men speaking up for gender equality. Have you observed this in other settings besides social media... and what do you think the implications of this are for gender equality movements and current or future efforts to engage and involve men?

      Your second point is great as well... I think it's really helpful and important to emphasize how patriarchy and gender inequalities affect everyone in different ways.
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  • Fasiha Farrukh
    A1- Young men are making equal number of youth force therefore their participation towards achieving gender equality is equally crucial. In today's era, attaining any of your goals requires participation from girls as well. This makes it important for young men to recognize the fact that women are needed to be present on many fronts.
    Unfortunately, in many regions, it is still very difficult for men to accept as the decision maker or in a hierarchical roles. Stereotype norms & mindsets are the major reasons which bar men to think beyond the barriers. Their surroundings & general mindset do not allow them to support gender equality or give it a chance.

    2- Every good deed initiates from home, thus, practicing gender equality must be started off from home. Support your related women first that will automatically lead to supporting other women. Help them in pursuing a career and getting economically empowered. Having a professional career or working within their capacity also helps women to get empowered economically. 
    • Sailesh Singhal
      Thank you for your engagement Fasiha. That's absolutely true that young men across the world are participating to advocate about gender equality. The active participation of UN Women Youth and Young Men in Gender Equality Task Force are also engaging young men from all across the world for the same. According to you, what do you think we should do together for changing the mindset and our surroundings? Or do you know of any such practises that have happened to support gender equality? 

      You're right that every good deed and habit starts from home. It's very critical for the development of a child at their early stages. A child best learns from observation and especially of the values that is prctised at one's home. 
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  • Malvika Iyer
    A1 Gender equality is the responsibility of the society as whole and requires the active contribution from both women and men. Gender (in)equality concerns both women and men and has a strong impact on their daily lives. Men need to be part of the solution. Equality is only achievable if we work together. Young men can take action towards gender equality through sensitization workshops; mobilize communities & leaders for action
    • Sailesh Singhal
      That's true Malvika, Gender equality requires participation of equal efforts of both men and women. However, are you aware of the various practises and solutions undertaken by the men and young boys who have initiated solutions towards achieving gender equality? Also, what are your opinions about what prevents young men from supporting gender equality ? - do they feel it's not their cause or it doesn't concerns them? What are the possible solutions in reducing such notions (if any)? 
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  • haris khan
    The global agenda of sustainable development will remain a distant dream without active participation of half of world's poulation i.e. Women. This is high time all the nations join hands to work for women empowerment. woman is the strongest strong pillar of family and her impact on bringing change in society is phenomenal. Empowering women will enhance the realization of sustainable development goals i.e. alleviating poverty and hunger, promoting good health and education, devising and implemeting strategies to conserve environment and nature and improving living standards of global population. 
    • haris khan
      Thanks Sailesh Singhal supporting my view. Achieving SDG 5 is both the objective and part of solution to embark upon sustainable development. To achieve SDG5 in alliance with rest of the goals, first and foremost we need to disrupt the Stereotype that keep women out of education, science and research and promotes male dominance. Secondly, educate boys since adolescence about gender equality and women empowerment, thirdly, put girls at the center of economic development both at national and international level, fourthly, increase female participation in governance, policy and research.
    • Sailesh Singhal
      Thank you Haris for your engagement. You are absolutely right on the active need of engagement of women to acheive the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. As goals are interlinked to SDG 5 and be achieved with the achievement of Goal 5. How do you think SDG 5 can be achieved in allinace with the rest of the goals?
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  • Sharda Vishwanathan

    Q.2. How can young men promote young women’s economic empowerment? Please share specific examples.

    Engaging with men at family level: One of the key roadblocks that women continue to face is equal access to economic opportunities and equal participation in economic activities. Often relegated to the domestic sphere, women are confined to unpaid care work. It is here it becomes important for young men to contribute as caregivers and share responsibilities with women so that they have the opportunity to participate in economic activities. Thus, assuming caregiving responsibility is one way in which men can contribute to women's economic empowerment. 

    Engaging with men at the workplace: Create awareness and campaigns to engage with men in the workplace. It becomes imperative to break gender stereotypes that often result in widening the gender gap and thus, stands as a major roadblock in women's contribution to the economy. By organizing different workshops and training, one could look at building capacities that aim at breaking the power hierarchy and engage with men on hegemonic masculinity. Identifying male champions of change and working with them to undertake peer-to-peer engagement sessions can be explored to change mindsets. This would further help men recognize the need to treat women equally and play a positive role in their economic empowerment. 

    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      That's great to hear that your workplace was starting the conversation about gender bias. I think informal and formal/organizational efforts are both valuable and important.

      Make sure you check back later this week/next week for the discussion on intergenerational partnerships! There are definitely interesting and important opportunities for elders and other family members to help break gender stereotypes and norms. 
    • Sharda Vishwanathan
      Thank you Jason.

      I think when one talks about younger men within a family setting, it becomes important for elders and other family members around to break gender stereotypes and be a positive role model. By sharing household domestic and care responsibilities with the women to encouraging women's participation in the workforce, such steps often help break the gender stereotypes as reinforced by the society, thus creating a more just and favorable environment. With home and families being our first point for socialization, it goes a long way in influencing a positive behavior across other institutions- school, college, work and so on. 

      When it comes to the work it becomes key for men to support their fellow women colleagues. Often one finds that unintentional or unconditional bias comes in the several interactions paving way for discrimination. Organizations could look at conducting workshops that not only offer several opportunities for women to progress but also ones that engage with men to help them overcome the gender bias. I remember at one of my workplaces, we would have informal conversations on issues around gender and engage with both men and women. Maybe formalizing such sessions and organizing regular workshops would help close the gender gap. 
    • Jason Tan de Bibiana
      Thanks for starting up the discussion Sharda! Great points on the opportunities and challenges within families and at the workplace. What do you think the issues might be relating to younger men in those settings - such as sons or young fathers, or young men entering the work force? Do you know of any examples of good practices or initiatives that are supporting these efforts?
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