Author: Promundo-US

Young Women May Be Driving Gender Equality in the Middle East and North Africa

Post written by Alexa Hassink, Senior Communications and Advocacy Officer, Promundo The Middle East and North Africa often makes the news, and not for it’s progressive stance on gender equality. A new 10,000 person study on the state of gender equality in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine seeks to look behind the headlines. The study finds – among other trends – that young women are leading the way when it comes to supportive views about equality. Produced by Promundo and UN Women with local research partners, the International Men and Gender Equality Study in the Middle East and North Africa (IMAGES MENA) is the first study of its kind and size in the Middle East and North Africa. Covering four countries, it takes a big picture view of what men think, and how they act, when it comes to supporting gender equality. This includes asking men questions ranging from if they ever have used violence against a partner, to how they feel about having a female boss. The study reveals that while the majority of men do have …

The Truth About Adolescent Boys

What do we know about boys? A new publication by Promundo and UNFPA highlights the importance of engaging young men in gender equality and in sexual and reproductive health and rights. Promundo and UNFPA launched a new report today, Adolescent Boys and Young Men: Engaging Them as Supporters of Gender Equality and Health and Understanding their Vulnerabilities, that takes a deeper look at the daily lives of adolescent boys and young men around the world, and how they can join the movement towards improved health and gender equality. Exploring global research, the report reveals boys’ and young men’s specific risks and realities in relation to health in general, sexual and reproductive health in particular, sexuality, media violence, sexual exploitation, and other vulnerabilities. It analyzes the implications of these risks and realities not only for boys, but also on the lives of women and girls. Adolescence is a key period where individuals of all gender identities form attitudes, opinions and beliefs – about themselves, about their sexuality, and about their place in the world. It is a …

Convincing “The Other Half” – Men

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Promundo talked to Nikki van der Gaag about the importance of bringing men on board with feminism. Nikki is the author of Feminism and Men, a Promundo Senior Fellow, and a noted feminist, writer, and communicator. What do you want everyone to know on International Women’s Day? That even if sometimes it feels like two steps forward and one step back, the tide is beginning to turn. Women and men need to stand alongside each other and celebrate the many positive changes that have been achieved – at the same time as being realistic about what still needs to be done. What makes you passionate, personally, about reaching gender equality, and what is your professional “Pledge for Parity”? I have been a feminist since my late teens, and have worked on gender and women’s rights for more than 25 years. I first heard about Promundo in the early 2000s when working on men and HIV at the Panos Institute. It started me thinking about the role men might …

Sexuality, Gender Equality, and the Arab Region

In celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, Promundo talked to Shereen El Feki about sexuality and gender in the Arab region. Shereen is the author of Sex and the Citadel, a Promundo Senior Fellow, and an acclaimed broadcaster, writer, and academic. What do you want everyone to know on International Women’s Day? We must understand the lived realities of men and boys as individuals in order to move toward equality for women and girls, and to effect change. Women face tremendous challenges around the world, but it’s important to keep in mind that, in many cases, authoritarian and patriarchal structures also put men, most of whom are not at the top of the power pyramid, under pressure – thereby undermining their relationships with women. What makes you passionate, personally, about reaching gender equality, and what is your professional “Pledge for Parity”? I come from an unusual background in that my father is Egyptian, and my father’s upbringing was very conservative. Yet my mother is British, and my parents raised me in a very …

In DRC, Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict and at Home

By Nina Ford, Communications Associate, Promundo. Women and girls in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have experienced devastating effects of conflict, particularly when it comes to sexual violence. Research from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) in eastern DRC confirms that 22% of women were raped as part of the conflict, and almost 30% were forced to witness sexual violence. Frequently, the violence does not stop there: men often reject their spouses who have been raped or respond with further violence. Kyalu and her husband Abby, who live in eastern DRC, know this to be true. After Kyalu experienced sexual violence, perpetrated by rebels in 2008, Abby began to use violence against her at home. Through group therapy, Abby started to take responsibility for his violence, and for its prevention – overcoming the trauma of the conflict to begin living peace together. This is the story they wanted to tell: During the war in 2008, Kyalu and Abby traveled to the Congolese village of Walikale in search of work in the coltan …

Men Change When We Change the World Around Them

What works to engage men in achieving gender equality? This question has gained ground – and attention – in recent years, but do we know the answer? Globally, ensuring that women reach parity in political positions, receive equal pay, and live lives free from violence has often been approached by instituting quotas, kick-starting economic empowerment programs, and working with survivors. What do these approaches have in common? Although much needed, they often put the onus of achieving equality back on the very individuals who may lack the position to gain ground. How can we fully attain gender equality if we only call on half of the population? When Men Change tells the story of the other half. The film follows four men who, whether by learning the power of equality, the strength in non-violence, or the joy of hands-on fatherhood, have each embraced change. What do we need for this gender equality revolution to occur? What’s clear is that for both women and men, while grassroots change is powerful, by itself it will not be enough …

To Empower Women and Girls, Engage Men and Boys

“When there is mutual respect among young men and women, they are looking at a bright future without violence, unwanted pregnancy, STIs.” These are the words of Maurice*, the 22-year-old facilitator of a young men’s group on sexual and reproductive health and caregiving in Rwanda’s Musanze District. “I am proud to teach other young men to adopt positive behaviors,” he says. “When people are changing, when there is positive change among youth, they are prepared to have good families with shared responsibility; they are looking towards positive development. When people are changing behaviors about gender-based violence, drug use, condom use, the family is stable and healthy.” Educational groups in Rwanda – like the one Maurice facilitates – help men become better informed and make healthier choices regarding their sexuality, relationships, health and caregiving. They also help participants to challenge and change attitudes and ideas about what it means to be a man, which is critical for promoting nonviolence and empowering women and girls. These young men’s groups in Rwanda are part of the MenCare+ project, which …