We know that social, economic and political trends have important links with shifts in gender equality and men’s relationships to women’s empowerment, positively and negatively; trends such as globalisation, urbanisation, increasing (and more gender-equal) enrolment in education, changing types of conflicts and resurgent nationalisms or fundamentalisms. We also know a little about how social processes and trends are mediated by policies, institutions and movements. These range from international frameworks down to national and local policies, institutions and services, but also involve interactions between formal and informal dimensions of institutions and process. A key finding from recent evidence is that there has been a focus on individual women’s or girls’ empowerment rather than policy attention to gender relations or structural perspectives, or these complex interactions.
Gendered inequalities and power relations are intersecting (or 'working together') with other inequalities, such as social class, age, ethnicity, race, ability and sexuality. Yet, more needs to be learned and shared on these topics; particularly on the way that masculinities figure in such intersectionality and how that affects linkages and relations between different political projects, movements and struggles. In the language of the principles underpinning the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), men’s and women’s lives are also ‘indivisible’, where personal identity also reflects social, economic and political dimensions, which constantly interact and coexist across both public and private spaces. We therefore need to explicitly link masculinities and men relationally to women’s economic empowerment, the sharing of care work, sexual health and wellbeing, equality in public participation and with responding to conflict and violence (including gender-based violence).
Violence and conflict can have devastating impacts on all involved. We have seen increased attention to women's and men's varied experiences during and after open conflict; in their varied roles in perpetration, victimisation, redress and peace-building. There is still a need to explore options for effective policy and process solutions, such as in responding to sexual violence in conflict or in promoting women’s more equal participation in peace-building. Within this, strategies for effectively engaging men - in programmes, policies and processes - for gender-equitable outcomes need to be explored and shared, taking greater account of their diverse roles as perpetrators, victims, bystanders, leaders or other 'agents of change'.
For Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in any setting, three strong reasons to focus on men include: perpetrators of SGBV are overwhelmingly males; constructions of masculinity work across individual to societal levels, driving gendered violence and centrally implicating males, whilst; violence is also damaging to men and boys. A common focus on individual attitudes in programmes neglects the structural violence and institutional inequalities which are driving SGBV. Programmes also addressing norms, behaviours and relations associated with ideals of manhood can indeed be gender-transformative, but with some caveats. Approaches must not reinforce a binary view of two homogenous counter-poised categories of women and men. Strategies need to engage both men/boys and women/girls to challenge deeply held beliefs at very personal levels, and connect specific programmes with enabling processes of social change addressing the underlying drivers of violence, including socioeconomic inequalities and institutionalised discrimination.
This chapter Sexual and gender-based violence aims to explore and help us understand SGBV issues in relation to intersecting economic, social and political processes, with a focus on the structures, institutions and norms that enable and constrain transformative social change towards ending violence. The chapter offers a critical assessment of interventions that are working with men and boys to effectively address SGBV. The Mobilising Men programme is developing and documenting answers to address this question: what can men do to work with women in challenging the institutionalised nature of sexual and gender-based violence? This guide brings together stories and lessons from this work, as well as some of the tools used by the Mobilising Men partners in India, Kenya and Uganda. This chapter Conflict, security and peace-building presents some of the broad shifts in the past 20 years with regard to trends in conflict and peace-building and their influence on gender roles and dynamics. It provides examples of apparently successful directions in policy solutions, including those that focus on women and girls; as well as programmatic strategies to engage men for gender-equitable outcomes in conflict, peace-building and post-conflict.