Working with men and boys for gender equality: State of play and future directions

A quarter century on from the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing at which the need for gender equality work with men was clearly articulated, it is time for a critical assessment of the “men for gender equality” field.

This policy brief takes stock of this work and proposes new directions for programming and policy on men and boys.

Work with men and boys has often remained too focused on individual men’s identities, attitudes and behaviours, rather than on the structures and systems that sustain gender inequalities. It has relied on reductive understandings of the category “men”, social psychological accounts of gender norms, and organizational forms that, together, have limited its ability to contribute to intersectional feminist mobilizations.

Work with men and boys must focus on the gendered operations of power and injustice, press for political and policy change, focus more on anti-patriarchal social action in solidarity with and accountability to intersectional feminist and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ+) movements, and reorient evidence-based practice toward social change.

See other UN Women policy briefs.

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