It is now widely accepted that effective strategies to end sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) must engage with men and boys. To maximise the potential of working with men in response to SGBV, the four-year global programme on Effective Organised Activism against Gender-based Violence highlights the importance of applying gendered context and power analysis in understanding and identifying barriers to address SGBV.
It calls for efforts to address these challenges by, engaging men in prevention and response not just as ‘protectors’ of women, and building a shared agenda between individuals, communities and networks involving men and women. Experiences from the six country case studies highlight how working with men to analyse the intersecting inequalities and vulnerabilities experienced by different men and boys (e.g. social class, ethnicity or sexuality) can help them build a personal and political connection to how and why SGBV can be prevented and addressed. The findings not only enable a deeper understanding of the complexities around SGBV, but provide important lessons to be shared.
There is an essential need to get to the root causes of SGBV, including: gender inequality, increasing economic inequality, weak and inadequate laws and legal frameworks.
The programme highlights the importance of recognising the complex and dynamic nature of violence in specific contexts and its diversity across settings.
Initiatives that engage men need to recognise and understand participants’ expectations from the outset in order to understand their motivations.