Expanding dialogue on gender equality, UN Women at the MenEngage Symposium in India

Date: Thursday, November 6, 2014

As part of UN Women’s Beijing+20 campaign marking the 20-year commemoration of the Fourth World Conference on Women, a series of thematic events are taking place focused on accelerating effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. These events are bringing together policymakers, gender experts and political leaders to look at the achievements in gender equality as well as the challenges that exist, and the road ahead. One of the key Beijing+20 global events in 2014 is the 2nd Global Symposium “Men and Boys for Gender Justice”, from 10-13 November in New Delhi, India.  

Organized by the MenEngage alliance, which unites over 400 organizations, in close collaboration with UN Women, UNFPA and other partners, the Symposium will share experiences, evidence, and insights and explore new terrain on how men and boys can creatively contribute to gender equality and women’s empowerment, including in the context of the post-2015 development agenda. India as a key global player and the largest democracy with a population of over a billion people provides an intentional backdrop for the conference. New Delhi, India’s capital city, has witnessed strong public outcry in recent times, as has the rest of India, on the high level of brutal violence against women and girls by men and deteriorating public safety.

Since the landmark 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, the engagement of men and boys in gender equality and women’s rights has been increasingly recognized as critical to achieving women’s empowerment. Significant progress has been made, yet the need for partnerships between men and women, and effective programmes and policies that engage men and boys fully, is increasingly important as the post-2015 agenda is developed. The Global Symposium will address multiple aspects of gender inequality, including: violence, health and well-being, poverty and work, care and relationships, sexualities and identities, peacebuilding and social justice, and masculinity.

The Symposium is an opportunity for UN Women to present the strategic vision of its work with men and boys as gender equality advocates, and highlight the recently launched high-profile HeForShe campaign. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will participate in the inaugural ceremony and will be the opening speaker in the Plenary Session on 11 November, entitled “State of the Field in Engaging Men in Gender Equality”. A broad-ranging discussion paper that MenEngage has produced in collaboration with UN Women for the Symposium, Men, Masculinities and Changing Power: A Discussion Paper on Engaging Men in Gender Equality, from Beijing 1995 to 2015, will be released at the Symposium.

The gathering will bring together 1,000 delegates from 93 countries, including researchers, practitioners, advocates, activists, government representatives and donors. Through the Symposium, UN Women and MenEngage seek to bring the issues of men, masculinities and gender equality to the larger male population, and beyond the strictly academic and activist domains. It will also develop a set of positions on the need for engaging with men and boys in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The Delhi Declaration, a blueprint for action on Re-Engaging Men and Redefining Masculinity, is expected as the outcome of the meeting.

UN Women will also host a “HeForShe conversation” as a side event of the Symposium on 10 November. The panel will consist of male leaders from Government and civil society, with a focus on policies and practices they’ve adopted to support women’s empowerment, their effectiveness in transforming gender relations, and the challenges that remain.

The first MenEngage Global Symposium took place in Rio de Janeiro in March 2009 and marked a major step in advancing work to engage men and boys on women’s issues.

For live updates from the conference, follow @MenEngageDilli, @unwomenindia and the hashtag #MenEngageDelhi on Twitter.

For more information about UN Women’s work to Engage Men, click here.