Members of the MenEngage Alliance Global Board, including regional representatives and the the Global Secretariat and key partners gathered in Ottawa, Canada for four days in September for a series of meetings and events: the annual Global Board Meeting, a meeting on the development of a Theory of Change for the Alliance, and a state of the field dialogue on ‘Women’s Rights, Feminisms, and the Role of Men and Boys’ at Global Affairs Canada. The week provided the MenEngage Global leadership with a vital opportunity to reconnect, exchange perspectives, reflect and strategize, as the alliance enters this exciting new phase in its development.
For the first two days, the group engaged in discussions on our contributions to an intersectional feminist vision of dismantling patriarchy, to inform the development of a Theory of Change for the Alliance. The conversations centred on how to link individual level change to systemic change, how to relate to other social justice issues, and how to ensure a feminist-approach in the Alliance’s work with a focus on male privilege and power.
The annual Global Board meeting was held on the third day. With the Alliance’s Strategic Plan and core grant approved by Sida, the Board was excited to get down to strategizing on how best to work collectively to make these commitments a reality. The group made decisions on global governance, organizing the 3rd Global Symposium, progressing with emerging issues such as SOGI, militarism, and sex-work/prostitution, amplifying the impact of our collective advocacy, and increasing the generation and sharing of our stories and evidence.
On the final day, the Alliance organized a state of the field dialogue on ‘Women’s Rights, Feminisms, and the Role of Men and Boys’, in collaboration with White Ribbon Canada, Global Affairs Canada, and Status of Women Canada. The opening panellists spoke about their experiences of working with men and boys in diverse contexts, and this was followed by an interactive world café session, in which smaller groups discussed engaging men and boys in a range of thematic areas. The dialogue was very constructive and the Government of Canada showed a sincere commitment to engaging men and boys in gender equality, including through their recently announced feminist foreign assistance policy.
WILPF’s Abigail Ruane wrote a blog on her experience joining us in Ottawa. She writes “The space at these discussions was remarkable for its self-reflective awareness, personal to political analysis and cultivation of a community of practice for a feminist peace alternative in our world. As others at WILPF have found, this network’s community invoked an inspiring feminist space, full of inclusivity, rebellion, respect, liberation, participation and a feminist curiosity and electricity.” Read the piece here.