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Deeply Talks: Engaging Men in Women’s Advancement

In our July episode of Deeply Talks, experts join us to discuss how to engage men in the pursuit of women’s rights and talk about their own journeys as male advocates for gender equality.

Written by Jihii Jolly, Megan Clement Published on Read time Approx. 2 minutes
A man carries a little girl through the village of Sa La along the Path of Ho Chi Minh, Laos. (V. Giannella/DEA via Getty Images)

The global movement for women’s rights is, thanks in part to #MeToo, more energized and prominent than ever. But as we look at solutions to issues such as the gender pay gap, the unequal distribution of unpaid care and the effects of sexual harassment at work on women’s careers, we often leave out one important factor: men.

What can men do to advance women’s economic equality worldwide? In this episode of Deeply Talks, we asked three male experts for their ideas.

Tim Shand, vice president of advocacy and partnerships at Promundo and global co-coordinator of MenCare, discussed how to increase the presence of men in conversations about gender equality and how to encourage men to change their behavior.

“We see one of the key drivers of behavior change among men around their greater involvement in unpaid care and domestic work is boys seeing their fathers more involved in caregiving,” he said. “So if you grew up in a household where your father was more involved, you are one and a half times more likely to be involved yourself.”

Laxman Belbase, global networks manager of MenEngage Alliance, shared his thoughts on movement building, and how to shift the view of men and boys from being a group that creates problems to one that can be part of the solution.

“First we need to create a behavior among men to listen to what women and other discriminated groups are talking about,” he said. “Because if you look at the historical way things have been happening, the population of men and boys constitutes a population that has been historically privileged.

“First and foremost is to be reflective of our power and privilege that we carry as men and boys. Are we doing that enough?”

Curt Rice, president of Oslo Metropolitan University and chair of Norway’s Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research, shared insights from Norway, and his committee’s work on establishing a requirement for public institutions to have a gender action plan.

“When I first started getting into management positions and would talk, especially with early career women, hearing their stories about how their daily work experience was so different from young men really gave me a heightened awareness,” Rice said.

Listen to the full conversation here.

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