Partnership & Accountability blog series
Partnership & Accountability blog series
Accountability to the women´s and to social justice movements is crucial for building collaborative and equitable partnerships. Accountability requires the development of a receptive capacity in men and others who have been placed in positions of power and privilege, so that they can listen to the perspectives and needs of oppressed groups in order to become authentic allies. Accountability and partnership building also require us to engage in respectful dialogues, and a willingness to constantly address issues and concerns raised by our partners.
We hope that this blog series contributes to these ongoing conversations and serves as another platform to share useful information.
Blog posts are written by member and partners of MenEngage, for whom we provide a platform for dialogue. The opinions expressed in the posts do not necessarily represent those of the MenEngage Alliance.
To learn more about MenEngage & Accountability go to www.menengage.org/accountability
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
The promotion of positive masculinities in public policies: the experience of Instituto WEM and the Costa Rican MenEngage Network
|Alvaro Campos Guadamuz|
- Men’s Health Act passed in 2013. This law encompasses a broad concept of men’s health, including aspects having to do with changes in lifestyle characteristics of hegemonic masculinity and promotion of emotional ties that foster peaceful coexistence. The same act proposes the formulation of a National Men’s Health Policy and regulation. At this time, the final version of the regulation is being completed for submission for national review.
- National Policy for the Promotion of Positive Masculinity and the prevention of Men’s Violence towards Women, currently being produced. The state, through the INAMU, has entrusted Instituto WEM to develop this policy, which will be part of the National System for Attention to and Prevention of Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in Costa Rica (PALNOVI). The formulation of this policy has involved IWEM and RMECR in an intense process of dialogue, consultation and reflection with Costa Rican institutions, feminist and other sectors.
- The “Primary Prevention of Violence at the Local Community Level” Program, sponsored by the National Institute for Women, is a program in which non-governmental organizations working with distinct populations and issues participate with IWEM, and from which it aims to build a model of community work.
- The MACHIS-NO Program and Campaign. This program aims to prevent violence in the context of soccer, supported by the state and involving all the first-division Costa Rican soccer clubs, from major to minor leagues. IWEM is commissioned to design and implement the training, which will take place within the 12 stadiums of the first division (for football captains, coaches, administrative personnel and players from all clubs). This campaign will culminate in the adoption of a code of ethics by the football players, the basis of which will be the Global MenEngage Code of Ethics.
- Recognition that masculinity studies and work with men has emerged and developed through its link to the process of struggle for equality provided by women's movements and feminism.
- Research on masculinity and work with men should be the initiative and primary responsibility of men, without excluding the contribution of women who are interested in this topic.
- Groups or movements of men who should be supported or promoted are those who seek change towards gender equality and not those who seek to maintain or reproduce patriarchal oppression.
- Those who work on masculinity and men should maintain an open and respectful dialogue with those working on femininity and with women.
- This work should be guided by what Marcela Lagarde proposes as an ethic based on solidarity and cooperation, equal opportunities, equitable distribution of goods and positive powers, processes of individualization and community approach, as well as social and political participation as a way to ensure political democracy and a regime of respected rights. "
La promoción de las masculinidades positivas en las políticas públicas: Experiencia del Instituto WEM y la Red MenEngage en Costa Rica
|Alvaro Campos Guadamuz|
- Ley de Salud Masculina, aprobada en el 2013. Esta ley propone un concepto amplio de salud masculina, ya que se incluyen aspectos que tienen que ver con cambios en los estilos de vida propios de la masculinidad hegemónica y de promoción de vínculos afectivos que propicien una convivencia pacífica. La misma ley propone la formulación de una Política Nacional de Salud Masculina y un reglamento. En estos momentos se está concluyendo la versión del reglamento para someter a consulta nacional.
- Política Nacional para el Fomento de Masculinidades Positivas y prevención de la violencia masculina hacia las mujeres, en proceso de producción. El estado, a través del INAMU, encarga al Instituto WEM la elaboración de dicha política que será parte del Sistema Nacional para la Atención y Prevención de la Violencia contra las Mujeres y Violencia Intrafamiliar de Costa Rica (PLANOVI). La formulación de esta política ha implicado para el IWEM y la RMECR un proceso intenso de dialogo, consulta, reflexión, con la institucionalidad costarricense, el feminismo y sectores diversos de la realidad nacional.
- El Programa “Prevención Primaria de la Violencia en el nivel local comunitario”, auspiciado por el Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, es un programa en el que participan otras organizaciones no gubernamentales que trabajan con otras poblaciones y temas, junto con el IWEM, programa desde el cual se pretende construir un modelo de trabajo comunitario.
- El Programa y Campaña “MACHIS-NO”. Este programa busca prevenir la violencia en el contexto del futbol, apoyado desde el estado e involucrando a todos los clubes de la primera división de futbol costarricense, desde ligas mayores hasta ligas menores. Le encargan al IWEM el diseño y ejecución de la capacitación que se va a desarrollar en los 12 estadios de la primera división (los capitanes de futbol, directores técnicos, personal administrativo y jugadores de todos los clubes). Esta campaña culmina con la adopción de un código de ética por parte de los jugadores de fútbol, cuya base será el Código de Ética de Men Engage Global.
- Partir del reconocimiento de que los estudios sobre la masculinidad y el trabajo con los hombres ha surgido y se ha desarrollado vinculado al proceso de lucha por la igualdad que han dado los movimientos de mujeres y feministas.
- La investigación sobre la masculinidad y el trabajo con hombres debe ser iniciativa y responsabilidad principal de los hombres, sin excluir el aporte de las mujeres que tengan interés en este tema.
- Los grupos o movimientos de hombres que se deben apoyar o promover son aquellos que buscan el cambio hacia la equidad de género y no los que buscan mantener o reproducir la opresión patriarcal.
- Quienes trabajan sobre la masculinidad y con los hombres debe mantener un diálogo abierto y respetuoso con quienes trabajan sobre la feminidad y con las mujeres.
- Este trabajo debe estar orientado por lo que propone Marcela Lagarde como una ética basada en la solidaridad y la cooperación, la igualdad de oportunidades, la distribución equitativa de los bienes y poderes positivos, los procesos de individualización y de acercamiento comunitarios, así como la participación social y política como vía para asegurar la democracia política y un régimen de derechos respetados.”
Thursday, April 14, 2016
In a globally right-wing moment, it remains necessary to mentor men and women to change the nexus of power, privilege, pain and powerlessness in boys and men’s lives. My students engage in pro-feminist movement building to better understand the project of men’s movements, like women’s movements, to fairly and lovingly value us all simply because we are human. When that pedagogy works, it garlands the bread of solidarity with roses of hope.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Thursday, March 3, 2016
International Planned Parenthood Federation
- Increase and improve sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service provision for men: Accessible and targeted sexual and reproductive health services need to be provided to all, including men in all their diversity, while ensuring that any changes to services do not have unintended negative consequences on the quality and/or availability of services provided, especially for women and girls. Data commissioned for a recent high level consultation on Men and HIV convened by UNAIDS, Sonke Gender Justice and IPPF showed that whilst HIV transmission is higher among women, anti-retroviral therapy (ART) coverage is lower and AIDS-related deaths are much higher among men [more info here]. Access to a broad range of sexual and reproductive health and HIV services therefore needs to be improved. This can be done by adapting existing services to remove identified barriers and make them more attractive and responsive to men’s needs, and expand those services. To support this, a Platform for Action from the Men and HIV consultation will be released by UNAIDS soon, and IPPF and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) are in the process of developing a Global Package on SRH services for men and adolescent boys to provide information on this which will be ready in the next few months.
- Get out of the clinic: When men do not have access to services, this is harmful to them, harmful to their partners and harmful to their families. It is critical that policies include more focus on reaching men and adolescent boys with innovative service delivery methods in workplaces, places of worship, sports gatherings and other community venues. Similar approaches should also be used to challenge harmful gender norms that lead to men’s unwillingness to seek healthcare services and gender-based violence.
- Promote shared responsibility: more messaging should be provided to men and adolescent boys on the shared responsibility they have for decisions around contraception, preventing HIV or other sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and child birth, and as parents and caregivers. The 2015 State of the Worlds Fathers Report provides further information, analysis and recommendations in this area.
- Advocate to change harmful laws and policies that affect access to sexual and reproductive health and right (SRHR) for both men and women: these include laws that prohibit access to safe abortion and comprehensive sexuality education and criminalise key populations and the transmission of HIV. It is also important that there be supportive laws in place that criminalise sexual and gender based violence, rape within marriage and female genital mutilation and where these laws exist their implementation needs to be ensured.
- More evidence and research needed building on programmes that work: a more concerted effort needs to be made at all levels to collect, analyse and disseminate data that is disaggregated by both sexes and can be used to understand how gender relations and other dynamics of power shape sexual and reproductive health, including HIV. We should also ensure that we are building on programmes that are proven to work such as SASA! and Stepping Stones which recently published a newsletter with a focus on engaging men and boys [here]. One area of medical research that needs increased focus and more resources is developing new male led reversible contraceptive methods beyond male condoms, for example in developing a “male pill”.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Thursday, February 11, 2016
- Partnership rests on listening and engaging from a position of equality and respect. For men engaging in the struggle for gender equality, this means not just listening to the perspectives and demands of oppressed groups in order to become authentic allies. It should not be utilitarian, or transactional. Women have the intrinsic right to be at any table as equals, and to create the table and define the conversation, not just to be heard. As a woman, a feminist and an activist I expect to be heard because I have knowledge, experience and expectations that are legitimate and have value. My being heard should not rest on my having been ‘oppressed’ nor should it be for the benefit of self-defined ‘allies’. Let everyone have an equal seat at the table. This includes engaging purposively in ensuring the right people are part of the conversation – through seeking diverse partners in gender identity, race, age, community and geographic location, and investing in promoting and widening participation.
- We believe MenEngage are right to include “being critically aware of one’s own power and privilege” in their definition of accountable practice. It is important to recognise that privilege does not have to be exercised in order to function. We have all been socialised into gender roles, and it is an ongoing, conscious process to overcome them, including through choosing and accepting a loss of power where the status quo confers this. For men in the gender justice movement, this means consistently being conscious of the power and privilege their gender has conferred. It means thinking about who is speaking and whether this is easier for men than women (through social norms, education, or confidence). Who speaks first? Who speaks longest? Who interrupts? Who is doing the meeting ‘housework’ – getting coffee, handing out papers? We all carry ‘gender baggage’, and being mindful of fulfilling or enacting – or subverting – socialised gender roles is critical.
- In addition to gender privilege, intersecting factors including race, ethnicity and North/South hierarchies influence who is heard. As activists, we all must be committed to opening up spaces and access to resources and platforms, to ensure that diverse voices are heard. Accountable practice is intersectional practice – recognising multiple layers of exclusion and marginalisation and how this intersects with gender to prevent or enable a voice being heard.
- Accountability for all gender justice advocates also includes overcoming or opposing heteronormavity and a rigid gender binary. One danger of the ‘engaging men and boys’ approach is reinforcing an understanding of gender equality as being about men and women, constructed in a heterosexual dynamic with men as victors and women as victims. As feminists, we recognise that gender identity and sexual orientation are not binary, and that we need to recognise and respect diversity across the spectrums of gender and sexuality, and that there is no ‘them and us’ approach that will lead to transformation – gender justice isn’t about men vs women but people of all genders achieving equality.
- Creating safe parallel spaces can be an effective means to engage everyone in gender dialogue, including different age groups, gender identities and other diversities. Certain spaces and discussions are legitimately limited to a particular group: there are settings where male involvement is not appropriate or welcome, and being an ally means recognising this. Of course, this applies for men too – there are discussions and spaces on masculinity and the impact on men of gender norms that women shouldn’t join. It’s vital that opportunities and resources are channelled towards creating spaces for everyone to engage.
- Within this need for diverse safe spaces, women-only or women-led spaces are critically valuable and important. It is hard to overstate the power and potential of these spaces. In some cases men can be very welcome in them, such as in the Women’s Networking Zone at International AIDS Conferences, but it’s vital that men come into these spaces as allies, listening not leading. There is a valid role for allies in any social justice movement, but this does not extend to leadership, parallel organising and in separate, exclusive movements and organisations.
- Engaging men as partners cannot negate the space and ability to name men as perpetrators. When we discuss, for example, gender-based violence, there are roles for men as partners to address and re-define gender norms, to take action to achieve social change and to foster transformation. And we also need to recognise and articulate that violence against women is overwhelmingly – though by no means exclusively -- committed by men.
- We also need to acknowledge that feminist and women’s organisations are not only working with women – we have been engaging with men and boys, and challenging the gender binary, since the beginning. Work to achieve transformational gender change has always recognised that shifting gender norms means, in part, changing gendered ideas and practices and subverting and changing social constructs around gender. Achieving gender justice means everyone changing their gender norms and behaviour, and everyone has to be engaged in that process. Change requires everyone.
- Leadership is vital. Commitment to gender equality is key, but so too is knowledge and experience. Women have defined, shaped, and led the movement for gender justice for generations; defined the intellectual and conceptual frameworks and done the leg work for centuries. This leadership and deep knowledge is a vital asset for the movement, and accountable practice respects this and ensures that this legacy continues to be supported and begins to be properly financed.