(Related to our previous post Engaging men: a timely solution that addresses the root cause of the problem)
Few representatives from organisations that work with men have expressed their opinion and the programme models they have developed based on the approach of engaging men.
International Center for Research on Women
Madhumita Das, Senior Technical Specialist
“ICRW is at the forefront of efforts to transform unequal and harmful social norms that undermine the well-being of women and girls, as well as men and boys. The ICRW program in India called Parivartan and GEMS, are an innovative efforts that drew in young men and boys at the school and community settings through sports to challenge them to question traditional notions of manhood in their society and teach them about respecting women and girls and preventing violence against them. Through research and policy analysis on the role men and boys play in empowering women and achieving gender equality, we identify opportunities for redefining certain notions about what it means to be a man, and changing men’s behaviors related to violence, sexual and reproductive health and maternal and child health. We also are building evidence on how to expand effective programs that engage men and boys so they may have a greater impact on more people.”
Centre for Health and Social Justice
Satish Kumar Singh, Deputy Director
CHSJ has been actively advocating engaging men within a gender equality framework. It has been working extensively with men in different states of India, involving them on issues such as violence, girl child’s education, early marriage, women’s participation in panchayats and governance, etc. During our work, we have realized that training with men needs to address the issue of responsible use of power in the context of equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights. The need for change has to be motivated with a passion for equality which allows men to examine their own gender based compulsions. Men, who get convinced change their behaviour both in the public and private domain and also start taking public action with others.
Forum to Engage Men (FEM) is concerned about how the society addresses the issues of violence. It is now imperative to address the disease – the deep seated issues of gender inequalities and masculinities that allow these atrocities to happen. Millions of Indian men are impacted by the hegemonic notions that men must express their power through aggressive and violent behaviour. It must be established that it is not a “natural” inclination that makes men violent, but a flawed construction of masculinity that thrives due to the way society promotes patriarchy and its control over women. FEM believes that it is time for men, to engage other men in this discussion, time for men to show that they can lead non-violent lives, and to stand up for women’s right to live free from the fear of gender based discrimination.
Pooja Taparia, Founder
“I think we need to start early. We need to engage boys. In my experience trying to change attitudes of adults is difficult whereas to help build attitudes of children is far easier. Hence empowerment of boys would be critical to tackle gender issues at least in the coming generation.”
Arpan conducts Personal Safety Education in schools in Bombay with children of age 6-12 years. While the primary focus is teaching children how to protect themselves from unsafe touches/sexual abuse we also emphasise on understanding feelings, building empathy, increasing self esteem, being assertive and other imp life skills. This program is also therefore envisaged to have far reaching effects such as preventing boys from becoming potential offenders in the future.
Equal Community Foundation
William Muir, CEO
“We believe that not all men are a part of the problem, but all men can be a part of the solution. The government’s decision to launch a new scheme aimed at building character of adolescent boys and changing their mindset towards women is a positive step.”
Equal Community Foundation (ECF) is one of the few organisations in India that empowers men to end violence and discrimination against women. Our mission is to develop, practice and promote high impact programmes and tools that empower men to become agents of change in ending violence and discrimination against women.
Our founding programme Action for Equality is delivered to men in the age-group of 14-17 across 20 communities in Pune, India through partnership with community based organisations, building their capacity to engage men as catalysts for change. The programme moves beyond attitude change to ensure men take personal and collective action with other men they trust, supporting each other to reduce violence and discrimination against women. ECF has developed a strong curriculum and a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to measure the outcomes of our work. Till date, over 1400 men have enrolled on the programme, 660 men have graduated and we have developed over 200 male leaders who continue to volunteer in their communities on a weekly basis.