The Role of Men in Gender Mainstreaming and Inclusive Programming

By Andrew Ochu-Baiye On Monday, January 22, 2024

Last June, a two-day workshop organized by the Voice Gender Justice Community of Practice (CoP) took place in Abuja, Nigeria. The workshop aimed to collaboratively understand the landscape of SGBV in Nigeria and explore how gender can be mainstreamed in policy, organizations, programs, and persons with disability (PWD). Among the key discussions that emerged from the workshop was the role of men in advancing gender equality and addressing SGBV. 

The discussions spotlighted the fact that achieving gender equality requires the participation of both women and men. By challenging and transforming the harmful gender norms and behaviours that sustain SGBV, men can play a crucial role in this endeavour. Engaging men as allies and advocates can enable a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to addressing SGBV and promoting gender justice - in fact, this could tip the scales for better outcomes!

One approach to achieving this is by promoting positive, non-violent masculinity by challenging traditional notions that reinforce power imbalances and harmful behaviours. Men can be encouraged to embrace equitable gender roles, reject violence, and become active agents of change within their families, communities, and institutions. In addition to this, education and sensitization programs can be used to provide men with the knowledge and tools to recognize and challenge gender biases, support survivors of SGBV, and actively participate in efforts to prevent violence.

Furthermore, men already committed to gender equality can serve as role models and leaders in advocating for change. Their voices and actions can inspire other men to take up the cause of gender justice through:

  1. dialogue and partnerships: engaging men in dialogue and partnerships with women's organizations and gender advocates can promote shared understanding, collaboration, and joint action. This creates an inclusive platform for discussions, experiences, and perspectives, where men can actively contribute to advocacy efforts while respecting and amplifying the voices of women and other vulnerable groups.

  2. intersectional approaches: recognizing the intersections of gender with other social identities, such as religion, class, and persons with disability, is crucial when engaging men in advocacy work. This approach creates an inclusive and nuanced understanding of gender issues by addressing specific challenges faced by vulnerable groups, while considering the impact of their privilege.

In the journey towards creating an inclusive and equitable society, the active involvement of men is indispensable. Stakeholders at the Gender Justice CoP event emphasized the importance of including men as allies and advocates to build a society where the rights and well-being of individuals are prioritized and protected.

Keywords: Gender Mainstreaming Inclusion Inclusive programming Programming Gender Justice

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