- What kinds of fears and risks are increased when men are involved? Share examples.
- How do we create this mutually beneficial relationship between men and women? Share your stories and experiences.
- How can we take this particular model as a new way of having men and women work together in peacebuilding? How can we involve other organizations to share what WPP is doing and thinking about how this might complement their work?
- What are the next steps? What kinds of coordination and collaborations can move us towards a sustainable approach to gender-sensitive peacebuilding? What are the risks to keep in mind while we consider these next steps?
What are the challenges, opportunities and next steps?
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Tue, 03/29/2011 - 7:49pm#1
What are the challenges, opportunities and next steps?
For a long time women were reluctant to include men (and some women still are) out of fear that the men might "take over". The risk is indeed there, that men, even if it might be out of goodwill, go running with their own ideas of how women's empowerment should look like. The challenge therefore is: how to make men understand how their involvement could look like, that it is vital to communicate with the women in their family, community, country, etc on how women see their involvement. To ask them: what do you need from me? How can I support you without disempowering you? To listen to the women. Since this is not a skill which is seen as particular masculine in many societies, I do see the risk there of it going wrong...
Here I would like to add what I perceive as an additional challenge - to adequately support men in their efforts to communicate with and listen the women, especially in contexts where gender discourses are culturally embedded. As someone working for a global CSO network I find it challenging to support these people & processes, especially as it is usually "from a distance".
Gesa Bent, Gender Coordinator at the GPPAC Global Secretariat
One way that we as GPPAC see to address the above challenges is partnering with organisations such as IFOR/WPP and others, to create linkages and act as "organisational allies" in supporting women and men who engage in their community and country context towards gender-sensitive conflict prevention and peacebuilding.
Gesa Bent, Gender Coordinator at the GPPAC Global Secretariat
Thank you, Gesa, for sharing a little about the approach of GPPAC in confronting the challenge around the "distance" between you and the partners you are working to support. I am curious to learn more about what an "organisational ally" looks like. How does GPPAC partner with IFOR/WPP and others to support the active men and women engaged in peacebuilding? How does IFOR/WPP provide support? Thanks!
Thanks for the question Kristin. I guess I came up with the term "organisational ally" because this is what GPPAC's work is often about and in terms of gender-sensitive conflict prevention & peacebuilding we are finding our way into it. GPPAC as a global network has started last year with a more continuous approach towards stronger gender integration. We have developed a Gender Policy for the network which was adopted in November 2010 and which we now seek to implement. (it can be found here: http://www.gppac.net/uploads.phpfile=documents/uploads/e9b650ca776e3b257a18fab5e25adfe7/GPPAC_Gender_Policy_2010.pdf )
Also, most of our fifteen regions have appointed Gender Focal Points, who have cooperated in developing the policy and who we seek to support in their work at national and regional level. There is in fact a considerable overlap in membership between IFOR/WPP and GPPAC, with WPP members on the ground also acting as Gender Focal Points etc. So one approach in partnering with other organisations is identifying overlaps in membership and seeking to work together to support members instead of doubling the work.
Gesa Bent, Coordinator Gender at the GPPAC Global Secretariat
I believe it is also important to support men in their efforts to communicatie with and listen to the subordinated, 'feminized' men who are not taken seriously and even being threatened for being not 'manly' or 'masculine' enough; they are the potential allies, suffering from masculine domination as well.
Very much so! I would see the pressure on men to be 'manly' or 'masculine' as part of the culturally embedded gender discourse which we are often dealing with. Your point is also supported by several of the contributions in the section on "Why should men and women be involved as allies in peacebuilding".
Gesa Bent, Coordinator Gender at the GPPAC Global Secretariat
I think there is something inherently wrong in asking men to come to the aid of women as 'helpful' , 'supportive' 'gender sensitive' men. I think work with men needs to involve an analysis of privelege and then a reflection of what the costs of these very REAL priveleges are.One of these priveleges is being powerful, in charge, being the savious....this paternalism is at the core of maculinities and we cannot have that be used in our efforts to challenge masculinities..that in essence will defeat the very purpose. Sadly, that is how many effort to involve men on gender based violence are headed.
Men need to be in this for themselves..to save their own lives and relationships...the costs of patriarchy for men are many..some very visible in the case of feminized or those men who do not meet standards of masculinity and hetronormativity but also for 'powerful' men when we look at risky life style factors leading to fatalities and serious phsyical health problems. Having said that I acknowledge that working with men who suffer more visibly in the system and are lower in the hierachy of the 'real man club' is easier.
Consciouness raising in feminist practice has been linked to sharing personal stories that trace trajectories of socialization and expereinecs around injustives and victim hood. These have been at athe heart of the women's struggle against discsrimation and as such notions that women are the natural constitents of change has firm roots in our imagination and that men can only be helpers. But the question I ask is Is there a parrallel process for men, stories that can be told and like the stories of women can they be used to understand private fears and discontents and can they fuel men's involvement in this struggle rather than a desire to help us!
Hello Maria. Thank you for asking the question about a parallel consciousness-raising process for men!
Understanding this process, and how to create learning environments that promote it, have been the foundation of my work for the past 30 years. Learning how to listen (to women, to other men, to children, and to our own hearts), and breaking the silence with our own stories have been cornerstones for this work.
I uploaded a few additional MRI documents that might be relevant to this question.
Also, here are a few good examples of ways men's stories are being explored and expressed.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Indeed, consciousraising on men's own suffering within the system is important. I just posted an item on digital story telling in the militarism discussion box (http://html.mensstoryproject.org/ and http://www.silencespeaks.org/) as a few examples of ways in which story telling is used in a structured manner to initiate discussion on masculinities and sharing of experiences and feelings. Perhaps its useful.
.If men are involved in concertation with women, in order to respond to the women interests, there is any problem. But,the risks are when involved men want to think "for women without women".
. The mutually relationship between men and women is very beneficial. The experience with our organisation Fountain Isoko for Good governance and Integrated Developpment is worthing to be shared: We began to involve men in the gender and peacebuilding issues since 2007 with UNSR1325 as a tool. At the biginning, it was challenging for the men because they were pointed, targeted as "a bad men". They were really determinated to work with women for social transformation. We work together, we implament Clubs in Universities. Now, they are target, poin, as " model men", They've move from "bad to model men. Women search them as allies to sensitize other men and youth.
Thank you for sharing this post. How you have used the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 as a tool in your gender and peacebuilding activities?
I want to be sure that we provide information about the UNSR 1325 which was adopted by the UN Security Council at its 4213th meeting, on 31 October 2000.
You can use this link to obtain translations of the UN Resolution 1325 in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish
A very nice, brief summary of the contents of the UN Resolutation 1325 is provided by UNIFEM, here are some key areas that Resolution 1325 identifies:
Have others in the dialogue also used UNSR 1325 as a tool for your peacebuilding efforts? If so, how have you been able to use it?
I know UNSR 1325 and the advocacy on the first pillar "PARTICIPATION" helps burundian women to have enough places after last elections process: 50% in senate, more than 33% in National Assembly: that tool help us much in advocacy.
Now, we are using the same tool on its 2nd and 3th pillars, to ask for awoman "land right". It is a very good tool in advocacy.
I'm one of the UNSR 1325 indicators collectors which were presented on the 10th anniversary in New York.
GPPAC members in different regions and at network level use UNSCR 1325 as a tool in various ways. There are numerous examples but just to give a few here:
At global level, GPPAC is using UNSCR 1325 as a tool for its advocacy work, under the leadership of Sharon Bhagwan Rolls who is Executive Director of femLINKPACIFIC and who since 2009 is Gender Liaison for GPPAC's International Steering Group, she was also a member of the UN Civil Society Advisory Group on UNSCR1325 (CSAG). We advocate for implementation of UNSCR 1325 with a focus on enhancing conflict prevention efforts through enhanced participation of women. In our advocacy towards the UN and other global stakeholders we collaborate with networks such as the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP). At European level we collaborate with and through EPLO; we have recently developed a statement for International Women's Day 2011 (http://bit.ly/fV9n17), reminding EU stakeholders of their 1325-related commitments and building on an EPLO-organised position paper ‘10 Points on 10 Years UNSCR 1325’ (http://www.eplo.org/assets/files/2.%20Activities/Working%20Groups/GPS/CSO_Position_Paper_10_Points_on_10_Years_UNSCR_1325_in_Europe_1008.pdf).
Gesa Bent, Coordinator Gender at the GPPAC Global Secretariat
You shared in your post:
I am very interested to learn more about the transformation. I have a some questions I hope you will share with us regarding your experience:
I look forward to hearing more about your experience with this.
1. "Bad" because they were out the burundian culture where the women rights were a women matter. There is a burundian proverb which is pronounced for the men gender sensitive which says "he is no more a real man, he is a little man". In general, nothing is bad, but it is bad for some because of burundian culture.
Now there are describe as "model", local and international NGO ask them to facilitate workshop to help them to integrate men as allies.
2. The first men trained continued to ask for next step. For our organisation Fountain ISOKO, it was an impact of the training. We decided to go ahead. We were still thinking on it when WPP called for a men ToT on masculinities. It was a good opportunity for us when Christian was been selected to participate because he was yet in that group of "model, transformed men". After the ToT, we continue to work with our partners with a new look: work with young people (who will be decisions-makers in the future) still in school and universities . These change from bad to model is an impact of the many workshops and trainings done in the clubs.
Christian will explain more about implamentation, steps and the role of allies, it is better to explain what you feel taht what you see or listen to
Thank you for sharing this information. You provide a powerful insight into Burundian culture by sharing the proverb. Although it is difficult for me to understand the saying "he is no more a real man, he is a little man" - I have no doubt that this is deeply felt by the men in your culture.
It is challenging to find alternative messages that will reach equally powerful values and beliefs in communities.
An exercise called Myth - Value - Realilty - might be helpful for you and others that are thinking about ways to address tradition beliefs, as well as myths, that exist in your communities to find alternative messages. This exercise was developed by Bill Moyer, who write the "Movement Action Plan" and the organization Training for Change.
A challenge that has frequently emerged is that it is very hard to sustain the work we do outside of the spaces we create. You can guide participants along a process in a training and feel at the end that there has very much been transformation on both a group and individual level, for example, on conceptions of masculinity and femininity, but once the training is over, we return to our lives embedded within larger systems, communities, families, etc. where our roles may be more circumscribed/determined once again. Without mechanisms to continue positive reinforcement of the understanding we have gained, but more than that, that will allow us to take a bit of that space with us and continue to grow it, it is very difficult to be able to integrate/recreate in any sustainable fashion in our daily lives that transformation experienced.
There is even an ethical responsibility as facilitators to take this into account, as sometimes there could potentially be negative impacts or risks to individuals who may try to act on this newfound awareness and realizations that they may have developed as a group in a safe space and then act in ways that alter/challenge gender norms before perhaps other people and spaces around them are ready. At the same time, this is how change happens, and if we are perpetually waiting for the context to change and be receptive to new ways of thinking and behaving, nothing will ever happen. This is not to advocate for paralysis or writing off trainings or interventions (which may be longer but still have a red line between the gender-sensitive space and the larger world in which the participant operates) in general as futile and fleeting in their actual impact. However, I did want to raise it as a question for discussion as I do think that if this is a significant challenge that even we ourselves face in our work, in terms of our own routines outside of what we consider to be that “work” (or maybe we don’t see it separately and feel we have/create a more continuous space, but it’s just been a frequent observation I’ve made that even we as practitioners tend to separate) and how much we even question/challenge gendered conceptions in our day to day, then this especially true for more general participants of trainings and activities who come from perhaps even more confining environments or at least where the opportunities to continue to engage in discussions, question norms and conventions, test out ideas and behaviors and languages, and build less gendered and “powered” relationships are minimal.
I can throw out some quick ideas around practical tools, support groups, networks, etc., interestingly enough most of them based on trying to sustain relationships as a means to continue to fuel the change and growth, but again, I think it is a challenge to truly create sustainable mechanisms rather than one time exposures. Change often tends to stay within the space of the training room or the space of intervention, no matter how powerful, and stays behind when the participant walks out the door.
This is SO true, Olivia! I am sure that many of us have encountered this - as trainers/facilitators and as participants (I know I have!). Yes, many groups create online spaces to continue to share resources, opportunities, tools - and just to stay connected, as you mentioned above. It is important to continue to feel that support. I have also seen groups support the participants in using these new tools and tactics in their communities by providing financial support for events and providing training materials (such as the great WPP video that was created from the ToT). It would be great to hear about ideas that people have around this! How do you support training participants in applying what has been learned back at home?
I think this point of Olivia and Kristin is very important. That was also one of the reasons why the WPP's strategy when developing the Pilot ToT was to not just have a one off training. The whole training consisted of a whole cycle, meaning that after the first training the men went home, working on their personal follow up (Jose has written more detailed over the different projects in another discussion thread), and then coming back for the second training. Part of the second training was as well discussing their individual projects, and also having the space to share their experience, positive and negative. Additionally, we created a google group together with all the men, which up until now is very much used by the men to share with each other about their work. I do feel that this group really created something special, and still supports each other. Working on this project the transformation some of the men went through and the dedication with whom they started working as male allies to women, to see how some really have incorporated this idea of allyship really impressed me.
What provides the energy for the participants to continue exploring and establishing space for the new found ‘awareness and realizations’?
I like it that Olivia puts it as an ‘ethical responsibility’. It is important to encourage links between participants after the training. This builds trust and confidence and reinforces the sense of common purpose. The challenge in this could be the tension between competition and cooperation.
In WPP some the masculinities trainees will be involved in shaping how masculinities will be integrated in our regional work as resource persons. The challenge in this is you hope it will continue to have the same intensity and impact/results regardless the adaptation to the context realities.
Yes, sustaining change is so important. I guess it is the part where we as social change workers/ activists are challenged to practice our patience, and our creativity, and perhaps even the aspect of "learning to let go". Social change processes are slow processes, and the challenge lies in not getting defeated when things slow down, get stuck, or backlashes occur...
Looking into history there are numerous examples of brave individuals going against the tide - struggling to create a new world as they get ridiculed, locked up, or even killed. It always took considerable time before a critical mass of "new thinkers" had gathered which managed to push the new thinking into the mainstream. In this sense we do live in a time of opportunities: Modern communication techniques make the sharing of new thinking (and mobilizing around it) go faster and cheaper than ever. Social media tools allow us to meet up digitally and can help us to feel supported in our at times difficult work.
Nonetheless, despite these modern tools, going against the tide will never be easy, and will never be without risks. Also, as activists we have to come to terms with the thought that we might never see the fruits of our efforts. We are creating the change we wish to see in the world, but might not live long enough to see it happen, as social changes can take generations...Yet being one of the seeds of change, is crucial for the change to take place one day. That is why I believe strongly that an important part of sustainability lies in spreading new thinking widely and strategically. For, human kind is always looking for new ideas. And what is written, does stay. It does not mean that such writings in itself will change rigid institutions and systems, but at least they will start to undermine the idea that there is one absolute truth. It creates instead the idea of different options - and options carry the potential of making different choices. It is one of the first and crucial steps that can lead to real change in the long run. Of course there will be many challenges on the way, with attempts to hijack new concepts and fit them into old thinking. This is why social change workers and activists need to continue being vigilant along the way; as we will be contiously challenged to remain creative in our responses and approaches.
I never forget how liberated I felt when as a student I started studying Postmodernism and discovered all these different truths and perspectives. And this sense of freedom was offered to me because of all those brave women and men who once in history dared to question absolute truths...
What activists are doing is offering future generations a wider array of options and truths.We cannot guarantee which ones next generations will pick; but at least have provided them with a chance to have more choices than our generation had.
Reading all these interesting posts is very inspiring and makes me reflect a lot on what I am and have been doing.
When I started working with 'men and feminism' in the early 90's, I liked to think that there was a right way and just solution to all problems, to be reached if we'd just think thoroughly and work actively.
In the course of events, I learned that things are not as simple as I thought, that 'men' and 'feminism' are as complex and heterogeneous as human beings, and even that 'good' and 'bad' are relative to situations, contexts, people, convictions and perspectives.
As Isabelle mentioned above, postmodernism brought enlightenment ;-). It clarified the contradictory and changing nature of all these experiences and still offered ways to engage with my idealism. Not the engagement of big change, of revolution, of simple solutions for such complex problems, but rather the engagement of the small and omnipresent, think global act local, think big act small, the idealism of daily life, the idealism of pioneering in the right direction, step by step, exploring the possibilities for being a good person, a gender-sensitive person, a respectful person.
My daily life consists of the relation with my partner and her son, the people with whom I live in a collective, my family and friends, colleagues, professional partners, work, politics, unknown people I meet in various situations. My pioneering takes place in how I deal with my almost-son, trying to support him to be strong enough to cope with the world, and sensitive enough to support others. It takes place in sharing responsibilities with my partner, in the mutual support we give each other in leading our own lives, apart and connected. In my friendships, trying to develop new forms of friendships with other men, vulnerable and powerful, exploring ways new to us even though we've been exploring these for many years now. In friendships with women, balancing proximity and distance, being supportive without being paternalistic. With both men and women, challenging my patterns, becoming aware, trying to change.
In my work with boys and men the pioneering has different faces as well. Advocacy, public discussion, influencing policy - and at the same time working with real boys and men, socially isolated and/or privileged, hurt and damaged, wishful and powerful. Trying to inspire towards new and positive ways of being, of dealing with oneself, with others, with men, women, children. Changing the importance of work, money, sex, violence, status; creating space to discover the importance of connection, of sharing, of feelings, of communication. And of personal strength. Empowering men, in order to prevent them from using force and violence. The contradiction is there. It's pioneering.
My pioneering takes place within myself all the time, in all these realms, deconstructing and reconstructing myself in so many ways, exploring thoughts and feelings, discovering deeply rooted mechanisms, therapeutical and political at the same time.
I believe, being an ally begins with the intention to be an ally. How can we dig into the intention to be allies, that I believe is present in every person, in every man?
I really like this! Yes, being an ally begins with the intention to be an ally and we need to dig into this.
I see the great need to work with youth, boys and girls, in this regard. Socialization processes and learning what is a real man or woman start at early ages and there is a need to challenge this process and socialize our boys and girls into being not afraid to be and behave as "holistic people" - rather than "being a real woman or man". On personal levels in the family sphere - as you mention with your almost-son; " trying to support him to be strong enough to cope with the world, and sensitive enough to support others", but also on schools, youth clubs, etc.
You have a lot of experience working with boys in this regard; how do you address this? What are you strategies in terms of working with young boys? How do you "dig into their ally-potential" ? Do you have some concrete examples of your work you could share? Also in terms of dealing with the challenges in your work with young boys?
It is important to find a way of mainstreaming the ideology of the duality of relationship towards challenging evil and injustices beyond allies, not necessarily by killing the oppositivity of relationship found in gender but strengthening complimentarity almost as the oneness found in marriage.
That power in itself is not bad, but its abuse for selfishness by those entrusted is the challenge regardless of gender. How do we promote selflessness for the promotion of the common or universal good? Can we lobby our cultural policies to see the strength of masculinity in the context of seeking goodness through nonvolence and benignity. That we are buddies for we are seeking what is best for all of us and not each one looking for his/her good and therefore we are allies in strategies and when we cross the river we can part ways. This is the experience in the doctrine of alliance, if the NATO experience, the Allied Forces in Afghnistan and the one in the Second World War.
Looking at the various good process around, trainings, awareness creation, workshops, conferences among others, am slowly developing fears that we might as well be just teaching people the gender language, the peace language, the nonviolence language that they can speak very well but the content of their character remains the same. Whether they internalise these beautiful concepts is another question all together and I suppose we might want to interrogate this further.
I think you touch upon such an important point! I think it relates to the question of why people and organizations are involved in the work and the objectives they want to achieve. I feel this is crucial to discuss this matter, when building partnerships. Sometimes we use the same words, but indeed, the behavior reflects different interpretations of the words used. That's why I also think building partnerships requires time, to understand how the other group/ person is working- the framework and values they operate from and looking at the history of the organization is in this regard also important. and the actions eventually speak.
The last few years, various UN Resolutions have been adopted to address the women, peace and security issue - being United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820, 1888, 1889 and 1960. However, their true implementation is lacking. True implementation requires resources - both financial and human. And I think this is an important point when building partnerships on these issues; are resources truly allocated for the implementation of the project, do people invest time and energy to make the change they wish (claim to wish?) to make? Often this reflects the good will of the organization or person, rather than only the lipservice.
Perhaps its interesting to note that the WPP has identified at least five broad and different reasons for organizations to become active in the field of engaging men in gender equality work. DIfferent objectives require different strategies and when building partnerships its crucial that you are working towards a common goal and share understanding on this.
a. To address gender injustices in societies and to work towards social changes in societies to the benefit of all – women, men, and transgender and intersex people. It involves the recognition that gender is about power relations and that it is crucial for these groups to work together as partners and allies, with a shared agenda, to achieve gender justice for all. It recognizes that all people gain and benefit from gender equality work. It also recognizes that it remains important to continue addressing the gender-related disadvantages and oppression that women face, and to specifically work for women’s empowerment.
b. To address the gender-related disadvantages and oppression that women face and to support women and women’s empowerment. It underlines that women are suffering and that men have a responsibility to support women’s empowerment and leadership.
c. To address the gender-related disadvantages that men face. This perspective recognizes that men have a lot to gain from changing their behavior and rejecting a dominant, hegemonic and violent form of masculinity. It rec- ognizes that men’s privileges also come with a cost.
d. To address the gender-related disadvantages that transgenders face and to support their empowerment.
e. To approach the topic as a fundraising strategy and to raise the profile of the organization. The topic of “engaging men in the field of gender equality” is receiving increased attention, and it could be an opportunity to raise the organizational profile (innovative) and to secure funds.
Thank you both so much for raising these issues and ideas regarding how to move people from merely using the "language" to actual implementation of the principles that the language implies to actual action that makes change take place.
This made me think about structures for unified action that have worked in other kinds of situations.
The incredible work of the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDDHH) in Peru is a great example. CNDDHH is a collective of over 60 non-governmental organizations founded in 1985. What also made me think of the CNDDHH is that it emerged as a result of the outbreak of the internal armed conflict that took such a devastating toll on the country between 1980 and 2000.
CNDDHH has now existed for more than 30 years - what an amazing accomplishment in and of itself - but beyond that, their unity has made it possible to really make significant changes in their society regarding the defense, promotion and education of human rights.
They outlined a clear set of principles to guide their collective work, but in addition, specific standards for building unity that could be of use in the work that you are doing.
Do you think these ideas could be adapted to highlight and build active mainstreaming of gender-sensitve peacebuilding in communities?
The following is quoted from their New Tactics tactical notebook "Together We Are Stronger", where CNDDHH recommends that in order to support and strengthen unity over time it is important to emphasize the following points (the emphasis below is mine in terms of what might be similar needs for gender-sensitive peacebuilding:
With respect to this matter the following is suggested:
Do you think these ideas have potential cross-over relevance to your work? And if so, how might these be adapted?
This conversation is exciting and challenging, to have the opportunity to explore our commitments and plans for the work, whether ethical, toward building a movement, or strategizing how to take it to the next level. I feel I have internalized the work to such an extent that whenever I teach about feminism, religion, politics or peace, I talk about masculinities and the other way around. The masculinities message is integral to my life. The men and women I work with are keen to understand what masculinities means. The opportunities that masculinities offers to men has been mentioned elsewhere in this dialogue. Men, women, and LGBT/SOGI community realize how the world can change if men are released from the compulsion of violence.
The First ToT had a pledge that the men wrote, which they called "Together for Transformation." Perhaps it would be possible to post it on this thread. The men created very impressive projects in the inter-training period, some purely poetic, others concrete empowerment for women. One man went home having heard a gay man speak for the first time. He also realized how poorly he had been treating his family and resolved to stop hitting his child.
Hi Patti - great idea to post this statement that came out of the first WPP ToT! I have taken the liberty of pasting this text below. You can also find this statement, as well as a list of those that have signed this statement (many of the participants of this dialogue) on the WPP website.
Together for Transformation: A Call to Men and Boys
On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2009 we 19 men from 17 countries coming from Africa, Asia, Europe, America, the Middle East and the Pacific gathered here in Egmond aan Zee in the Netherlands for a Training of Trainers on Gender-Sensitive Active Nonviolence, organised by the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, its Women Peacemakers Program, collectively draft this document and express our commitments towards this statement/call. We understand that men and women are socialised in a patriarchal system that legitimises use of different forms of violence to gain, restore and control power affecting powerless and marginalised sections of society. We fully acknowledge that women suffer far more than men from gender oppression.
We understand and recognize that women have always been active agents of change. Women worldwide are standing up against all forms of discrimination and violence to bring social and gender justice and peace to the world. Some men are standing as allies with women’s struggles and notions of dominant masculinities across cultures have posed challenges for gender equality and social justice. Both men and women are suffering in this system and they need to join hands to bring about transformative change. Men also have much to gain in health, general wellbeing and safety through this change.
We believe that all individuals have equal human rights irrespective of their gender, origin, nationality, age, religion, caste, class, race, colour, occupation, physical and mental abilities, and sexualities. All human beings have the right to a dignified life free of threat and discrimination. We assert our commitments to all international conventions and declarations, especially The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Economics Social and Cultural Rights, UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN Security Council Resolution 1325, 1820, 1888 and 1889. These need to be fully implemented in their true spirit and further steps need to be taken to improve policies and programs pertaining to women and gender justice.
We strongly speak out against gender inequality and discrimination towards women in all forms and show our deep commitment towards gender sensitive active nonviolence as a way of life. We are inspired by and committed to this work and the prospect of change in our lives and in our societies. We believe in people’s capacity to bring transformative change in nonviolent ways.
Therefore we call on all men and boys to:
Hi Patti and Kristin,
Thanks so much for sharing this really inspirational and useful document. I think I might actually print it out and post it!
Has this also been circulated in anyway? It just seems like a really great text for a larger global call of support.
Do you or other people have any other examples of pledges, manifestos, commitments, etc. by men and boys, both for larger groups and also as part of individual mediated agreements on family violence, we are trying to collect examples/templates for these and what other people have come up with, preferably men in their own words and through their own process.
And are these pledges revisited and kept alive and reinforced, and if so, through what means do you recommend from your experiences?
Thank you very much for sharing this Steven! I think the Rio Declaration very well connects different aspects that need to be taken into account when working to engage men and boys to achieve gender equality. While violence is an important and very visible aspect of existing inequalities, there are other dimensions to it which I feel we don't always keep in the back of our mind (eg the cross-linkages to youth, aspects of health & education). Thanks for making the connections more visible.
Gesa Bent, Coordinator Gender at the GPPAC Global Secretariat
This is great, thanks a lot for sharing. If I understand it correctly, the organization this is from is network or (independent?) other organizations? i think the recommendations are very useful, in particular for networks and movements, such as IFOR WPP itself is.
In particular the attention for structure and leadership structure and the credibility of the network and its members.
I was thinking about this discussion yesterday, while strawling throught the forest (its finally sunny in the Netherlands! :-) ) and I think an important point is to be as specific as possible, when building partnerships - specific in expectations of the other group/ person and the partnership, specific on what one can offer and specific on one's values and not being afraid to address issues that might go wrong or are perceived differently in the partnership (however culture might be challenging when addressing this in communication). I think often we're using the same words and we might hold assumptions that we are talking about the same issues. However, when addressing these and talking about it what we concretely mean with it, it appears we're talking about slightly different things (e.g. nonviolence as the absence of violence, while believing that sometimes use of violence is necessary or allowed and (active) nonviolence as a way of life and means of social transformation).
I really agree with your comments here. as you say, being specific is very important. In the case of the Coordinadora in Peru, another aspect of the way they operate that I have found very inspiring is that each of the over 60 member organizations are INDEPENDENT. They have their own structures and decision-making mechanisms. At the same time, they have voluntarily agreed to be part of the Coordinadora and to take on unified campaigns in order to speak with one voice on issues they have believed to be of upmost importance to society as a whole. The Coordinadora provides a unified mechanism of support, including building the capacities and strengths of the smallest organizations. The Coordinadora does have a tremendous advantage, in that they are operating within one country context.
Your comment about misunderstandings in communication about the meaning of words and concepts when working across countries and regions of the world bring up additional challenges.
In addition to being specific about communication, the integrity and credibility of those in positions of leadership, as well as members of the community who are involved, make all the difference about whether people want to listen and be involved or not.
But it seems to me that WPP has implemented a very creative idea for providing a process and mutual support mechanism for both the men and women involved in peacemaking is really outstanding. For example, how the mentors have been selected and engaged.
What has been significant about the role and support the mentors have provided? Is one purpuse to help each other to understand those miscommunications and misunderstanding regarding language and how ideas may be understood differently by men and women?
What other mechanisms has WPP has worked to put in place to support not only the transformation of the individuals who have been involved but to move that forward into their broader communties?
I think there are a few points that which have been important in terms of the development and implementation of the female/male ally-relationship;
The follow-up activity was meant as an opportunity to practice the skills and knowledge acquired during the first training block and to spread the vision of the ToT within the participant’s own network. It also serves as an opportunity for cross-gender dialogue and collaboration, in which the complexities of gender inequalities and the differences between male and female experiences and realities in a specific context can be exposed, challenged and transformed.
Two of the criteria the male ToT participants were selected on included 1) the networks one was actively involved in, and 2) the follow up plans one had at the start of the project to spread the vision of the ToT within their own communities and networks. This has contributed as well to move the issue forward into their own communities.
Is there anything that this group of practitioners would like to see happen, going forward? Do you all have a way of staying connected after this dialogue is finished? I think that many of you already know each other so you probably already have your own ways to continuing to share ideas, struggles and reflections. But if not - can we brainstorm on how to do this? Also, is there a way for others reading this dialogue to stay connect with all of you?
Also, I wonder if there are ideas out there on next steps forward in engaging new allies and developing new collaborations. Please share your thoughts on how this momentum can continue on into the next stages of your work!
Thanks for the question! Indeed, many of the practitioners know each other, but of course we would welcome like-minded spirits to join! If any reader would be interested in the work we do, they could always contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The WPP is planning to organize regional consultations the upcoming years, to enhance regional collaborations. The consultation in Asia is scheduled to take place June 2011. Of course we look forward to deepening our work with existing allies the upcoming years, as well as linking up with new ones!
Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to engage in this amazing dialogue!