Wednesday, April 1, 2009

United Nations Radio - Men and boys must play their part for women’s equality

The United Nations thinks that men and boys need to be a part of any effort to create equality for women and girls. Sounds about right, as long we aren't demonizing men. In many parts of the world, men still treat women as possessions, so this effort is very important.

Men and boys must play their part for women’s equality

In too many countries, women are still not seen as equals in the eye of the law or the minds of men and boys.

That's what UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a video message Monday to a Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality - held in Rio de Janeiro.

The Secretary-General said no country and no culture has fully escaped this prejudice, adding that violence against women was the most obvious and hateful expression.

But he said inequality also exists in the home, in schools, in the workplace and in the halls of power.

The Secretary-General stressed that men and boys must play their part in the effort to achieve gender equality.

He said men must teach each other that real men do not violate or oppress women - and that a woman's place is not just in the home or the field, but in schools and offices and boardrooms.
He concluded that only by being prepared to stand up for fundamental rights can we expect to achieve lasting change.

Here is the program for the event:

The Opening Ceremony on March 30 will be followed by a dialogue session with representatives of the women’s rights movements and other social justice movements.

Each day of the Global Symposium will be organized around a specific theme and combine presentations of best practices, skills building workshops, and dialogues between representatives of NGOs, policymakers, and researchers.

The three overarching themes of the Symposium are:

  1. Men and violence, including men’s use of physical violence against women, sexual violence, and the gendered dimensions of violence between men;
  2. Men and health, including sexual and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, substance use, maternal and child health, and mental health;
  3. Men, care giving and fatherhood, including work-life balance and engaging men to a greater extent in care giving, often in the context of HIV/AIDS.

The Symposium will have seven skills building workshops covering:

  • Evaluating Interventions to Engage Men in Gender Equality
  • Designing and Implementing Mass Media Campaigns for Behavior Change and National Policy Advocacy
  • Designing and Implementing Community Mobilization Strategies and Activism
  • Engaging Men and Boys in Clinic and Social Service Settings
  • Cultural Competency: Engaging Men with Respect for Local Culture and Religion
  • Aligning Gender Strategies: Engaging Young Women and Men to Achieve Gender Equality
  • Working with young children (4-10) in achieving gender equality

The Symposium will also have panel presentations .

A centerpiece of the Symposium will be a Global Village of booths showcasing presentations by representatives from NGOs, UN agencies, governments, foundations and universities.

A special highlight of the Global Symposium will be a global photography exhibit on fatherhood, “Engaging Men for Positive Change” by Viktoria Saxby Roxie.

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