March 31, 2009
Day 2: Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
by Steven Botkin
Last night's opening session was a remarkable experience. The diversity of people who packed the room and the level of dignitaries who spoke was a testament to how far this movement has come. The significance of this was confirmed as we watched UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speak to us (via video) about his support for this Symposium and the importance of engaging men and boys as a global issue.
Today's program was filled with plenary sessions on "Dialogue with Women's Rights Movements," "Including Men and Masculinities in Gender Equality Policies," and "Men, Masculinities and Gender-Based Violence." The day ended with a reception for the Asia/Pacific region with reports about engaging men and boys activities in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal and Bangladesh. The entire group was led in a spirited Samoan hand-clapping activity by a powerful young man from Papua New Guinea.
March 30, 2009
Day 1: Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys
Monday, March 30, 2009
Greetings from Brazil. I am in Rio de Janeiro for the first ever Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality. This gathering of more than 400 men and women activists, researchers, policymakers, UN officials and young people from 71 countries around the world marks another historic occasion in our movement. As organizers and participants of this conference begin to gather today, I am re-connecting with dear colleagues and fellow activists from all over the world.
The Symposium is being organized by MenEngage, a global alliance of NGOs and UN agencies that began in 2004, with the goal of working in partnership to promote the engagement of men and boys in achieving gender equality, promoting health and reducing violence at the global level. The MenEngage Alliance has convened international meetings and regional consultations, and promoted the formation of MenEngage networks at the national level. Steering and Advisory Committee members of MenEngage include Promundo (Brazil) EngenderHealth, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Family Violence Prevention Fund, International Center for Research on Women, WHO, UNFPA, UNDP, Sonke Gender Justice Project (South Africa), Save the Children-Sweden, Sahoyog (India), the White Ribbon Campaign, Men for Gender Equality (Sweden) and Men's Resources International.
The steering committee of MenEngage met today. There were reports about projects, programs and activities that are now happening on every continent and many, many countries. The issue of male involvement is being actively addressed in rural communities such as in Cambodia, and India, and championed by major international agencies and United Nations organizations. It is very humbling to see how far this field has come, and fascinating to watch the whirlwind of networking and organizing that continues to build a sense of a movement.
At tonight's opening session the Symposium will be officially launched. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will be welcoming participants via a taped message.