Welcome to a 'gender mender' - the 2nd MenEngage Global Symposium 2014 - Men and Boys for Gender Justice, held in New Delhi from 10-13 November 2014.
There is deepening realization that while men and boys are implicated in violence and discrimination against women and girls, many men and boys are themselves victims of violence and risks associated with narrow views of masculinity. There is now a clear acknowledgement of the need to integrate work with men and boys in a wide range of development interventions, including maternal health, child care and protection of child rights and family planning, not to mention in societies recovering from the violence of war. ‘Masculinities’ is emerging as an important lens to understand the influences and compulsions men face. As the work with men and boys for gender equality matures, MenEngage, a global alliance of organisations working with men and boys for gender equality, came together to help organise the Symposium.
Its overall purpose was to find ways to engage men and boys for gender equality so that society becomes more caring and non-violent and gender relations become more harmonious. The symposium encompassed a holistic approach to understanding the implications of masculinities in different domains and disciplines.
7 tracks of conversation
The Symposium was arranged around 7 themes. They were called ‘Tracks’. Know more about the seven tracks.
5 months long interaction
The overall theme of the Symposium was ‘Men and Boys for Gender Justice.’ It encompassed a holistic approach to understanding masculinities in different domains in a globalizing world. If we want to create a world which allows everyone equal opportunity and space, it was time to come together and decide how. On the lynch pin of the seven tracks activities, discussions, film screenings, photo exhibitions et al panned out across scores of cities in India, South Asia and many countries around the globe.
Participation was not limited to the conference. There were many ways of entering the complex and many-layered issue of masculinities, the conference being one of the pit-stops. Here's how hundreds of links joined together for the goal of gender equality:
Partnering for seminars, discussions, campaigns organized under the banner of the 2nd MenEngage Global Symposium 2014 in Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Lucknow, Pune and many other cities in India, in countries in South Asia and in many other parts of the globe. In Kathmandu, Nepal for instance a national mobilization meeting held in June took on analyses of behavior patterns, traditional belief systems, lack of awareness, and came out with a Kathmandu Declaration ringing the need to work with men and boys for gender equality as a development goal. Read more
Organising or attending a campus level awareness and advocacy programme on masculinities in colleges and universities as a student or faculty member. It included a participatory college fest ‘Bystander No More’ and interactive programmes under the campaign 'Ab Baaki Charcha or ABC for Gender Justice....'
Participation in community level events Activities centred on the issue of masculinities. NGOs and other development bodies collaborated with the 2nd MenEngage Symposium to embed the issue of masculinities in their work among communities in many innovative ways. ITVS made available its short films on the issue for screening in communities followed by guided discussions. Manas Foundation put out eye catching message stickers on the streets through the hundreds of autorickshaw drivers that it works with. Mittika developed a forum theatre on the issue. Peole's area of expertise was their area of contribution.
Participation in the specially curated global film festival on masculinities. The India chapter of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) picked 70 films from diverse countries and selected films were screened with discussions.
Participation in special cultural events like the American men's activist Ben Atherton-Zeman’s one act play, ‘Voices of Men’ he performed in various locations in Delhi, using humour, video clips, voice impressions to promote understanding of issues like sexual assault and domestic violence. The performances were followed by interactions encouraging audience opinion and discussion.
Digging the buzz on online platforms like the MenEngage Delhi Facebook page, Twitter account and website.
4 days of dialogue
We like to think of the 4 day Symposium as a gender mender. Here’s why:
1 bit of background
1 bit of background is in order. For this Symposium wasn't a bolt from the blue:
Building on the First Symposium in Rio
The 1st Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys for Gender Equality, held in Rio de Janeiro in March 2009 with the theme ‘Going to Scale’, marked a major advance by MenEngage partners in leading to the articulation that while it is men who wield power in the world and men who set standards for each other, it is their standards that have brought about the current state in which opportunities for peace, justice, physical, mental and emotional well-being and mutually respectful co-existence are rapidly becoming compromised. If there is to be a social order which allows everyone equal opportunity and space, it is necessary to interrogate and reform dominant masculinities.
The Rio Declaration from the first Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys for Gender Equality, in March 2009 called on “governments, the UN, NGOs, individuals and the private sector to devote increased commitment and resources to engaging men and boys in questioning and overcoming inequitable and violent versions of masculinities and to recognize the positive role of men and boys – and their own personal stake – in overcoming gender injustices.”
Five years after the Rio symposium, the Delhi Declaration and Call to Action from the 2nd MenEngage Global Symposium 2014 has taken the work forward, bringing together researchers and practitioners, advocates and activists, government representatives and the donor community to share experiences and evidence, reflections and insights, and promote dialogue with those engaged in women’s rights work in order to seek directions on how men and boys can creatively contribute to gender equality. They aimed to create a new development paradigm beyond the MDG framework, towards a broader vision of social justice.
JOINING IN THE SYMPOSIUM
All those around the world concerned with gender, masculinities, social justice and development issues, whether
researcher, practitioner, activist or advocate
working in low, middle or high income country settings, or in fragile states
working with marginalised communities and populations, or at the international level
were invited to share their research, experiences, reflections and understandings through individual oral or poster presentations or through pre-formed, self-organised sessions around any of the seven tracks of the Symposium.
How they participated
Became a Delegate
Organised a Satellite Session
Exhibited their work
Presentations drew upon four dimensions
The four-day event brought together academics and practitioners from a broad range of disciplines, civil society organisations working with men and boys and grassroots organisations working on a broad range of issues pertaining to gender equality for the following programme:
Invitational Panel Discussions – Abstracts process and invited speakers
MenEngage Breakouts - Abstracts process and invited speakers
Trackwise Abstract sessions
Trackwise Pre formed Panels
Skill Building Sessions
Poster Exhibition - Featuring poster based presentations describing the process and results of the work of participants.
Round Table - These thematic discussions included ‘facilitators’ who made a brief presentation to lay out the different dimensions of a particular theme or idea. The participants of the roundtable given time/opportunity to speak/contribute, agree to the discussions and agree or disagree with the propositions. All discussions were moderated. Participants applied for roundtables discussions by proposing themes.
Exhibition Booths - Show and Tell Haat
These were semi-formal ‘open-spaces’ where the participants displayed, described and demonstrated their work. Participants described their work using tools, manuals, demonstrations and so on.
Screening of Men & Masculinities Film Festival – A selection of films from the specially global curated film festival on men and masculinities put together by the International Association of Women in Radio and Television, India chapter, were screened throughout the Symposium accompanied by discussions
Hangout/ Adda - During lunch and tea breaks there were spaces available providing opportunities to participants for informal thematic discussions.
Media Exhibition - 'Dhristikon: Visual Portrayals of Masculinity', a media exhibition comprising posters and photographs from around the globe.
Cultural Programmes - Cultural events highlighting the Symposium’s themes were held both indoors and outdoors. Dalit Drummers, fusion rock band Advaita, Sufi and Baul singers, popular singer Usha Uthup and Bharatnatyam dancer Navetj Johar's performances were among many other music, dance and theatre performances, games and much more.