Our Code of Conduct

“It is essential that each of us live the values of gender justice" – Delhi Declaration and Call to Action, 2014, MenEngage Alliance

As individuals and leaders, our behaviours need to reflect the principles and mission of MenEngage Alliance. This Code of Conduct forms an integral part of our accountability framework together with the Core Principles and Accountability Standards. This Code of Conduct focuses on individual behaviours, whereas the Core Principles and Accountability Standards focus more on our shared beliefs and our accountability systems and practices.

This Code of Conduct reflects the values that members of MenEngage Alliance, at local, national, regional, and global levels, commit to living by, while recognizing we continue learning, carrying blind sports, and making mistakes.

It applies to all the members of MenEngage Alliance, at country, regional and global network levels. MenEngage Alliance has a Global Board and a Global Secretariat. People who belong to any of these bodies must sign and abide by this Code of Conduct, in addition to interns, and consultants.

The Code of Conduct is also available in the following languages:

Values and behaviours members are expected to practice:

Respect and kindness

We respect and care for each other, practice kindness, and treat others as we would like to be treated. We recognize that the intentions of our actions are not the primary consideration, but their impact on how they are felt and experienced. We listen to others in order to understand and empathise. We appreciate their perspectives, even when we disagree.

We approach those with whom we have a conflict directly and respectfully or seek support to address the issue in a constructive way. We seek to appreciate others’ strengths and accept others’ limitations. We seek to provide useful feedback and frame mistakes as opportunities to learn.

We are mindful of unequal power in our relations with others. We commit not to take advantage of these differences and rather seek to create power-balanced relationships.

Beyond respect for each other as human beings, we commit to respect the earth community: other animals, plants, air, water, soil, and minerals –of which we are part.

Affirmative Consent

We ensure informed consent when interacting with others. We are mindful that power differentials may compromise consent. Gender, lower authority or status, or lack of resources can inhibit free decisions by the individual or group with less power.

We respect the privacy of others and do not reveal the personal information of others without explicit permission.

In sexual and any other intimate relations, we commit to affirmative consent to make sure the other party agrees freely and voluntarily. We know that people have the right to revoke consent at any moment. We know that affirmative consent cannot be given if a person is subordinated, intoxicated, unconscious, suffers a cognitive disability, or is a child.

Fairness and equality

We see and treat others fairly and as equals. We oppose oppressive hierarchies that propel us to treat others as inferior or superior, denying the equal humanity, rights and dignity of each individual.

We work on our unconscious biases in how we perceive ourselves and others. We aim to see others’ behaviours as reflecting their individualities, and not as representing their gender, race, nationality, sexuality, etc.

We strive to make opportunities and benefits equitably available for all. We foster an environment of inclusion, solidarity, and belonging. We strive to engage in horizontal relationships regardless of the position of individuals in MenEngage Alliance, in our networks, and in our organisations.

Ethical decision making

We make our decisions guided by the best interests of people and the planet, and not by personal gains. Our decisions affect our collective work and mission. We know that our decisions impact communities that are under different forms of oppression and marginalisations, including non-human communities.

When faced with ethical dilemmas, we check with others, our colleagues and leaders, and with other relevant feminist leaders and experts.

We seek to make our resources use efficient to care for our planet and our funding. We treat confidential information as important and protect it.

Transparency and honesty

We commit to honesty in our communication with others. We commit to be transparent about our plans, intentions, and decisions. Whenever possible, we make public our sources of funding, annual budgets, and spending.

We strive to share accurate information about MenEngage Alliance, the network, and our organisations. We recognize and do not blame others for our own mistakes. If we commit to something it is because we mean it.

Our reports of potential misconduct, complaints, or concerns are made in good faith, never making false allegations against others. We advocate for due and fair process for all involved.

We disclose to the relevant people any potential conflicts of interest with no delay.

Self-reflection and growth

We aspire to be self-critical of our actions, evaluate our relationships and decisions, and be open to discussing mistakes and learning from them. We seek and listen to feedback that others give us, and take action accordingly.

Since in our work with men and boys we promote critical self-reflection about the patriarchal power and privileges, we must expect the same of ourselves. Our inner work gives the foundation to reach others and challenge patriarchy.

Self-reflection is connected to self and collective care to create the space for new insights and growth.

Solidarity as an upstander

When witnessing or suspecting wrongdoing, we do not look the other way. We know that people may be harmed and that silence is a form of complicity. Whether we have concerns related to harmful institutional practices or to individual acts, we may consult with the individual(s) impacted by the wrongdoing, and/or reach out to the person engaged in such practice in order to interrupt.

Alternatively, we may communicate the issue to the appropriate body/authority, provided the affected person gives consent. Raising concerns is a way to promote justice and accountability and to act in solidarity with those negatively affected.

Behaviours MenEngage members commit not to engage in

Abusive behaviour

This includes a wide range of harmful behaviours which are intimidating, rude, unwelcome, offensive, demeaning, and that disrespect the dignity and autonomy of others.

Bullying, incivility, explosive anger, verbal and physical violence, and retaliation are examples of abusive behaviours. They can also be displayed in subtle forms, such as patronising attitudes, ignoring their voice, disrespectful body language, gossiping and harsh criticism.

Sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation

Sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation have in common the abuse of power due to power imbalances between two or more parties, which can exacerbate a lack of consent.

Sexual harassment is manifested in unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Offensive remarks about a person’s sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or expression is also sexual harassment. Sexual harassment includes work environments hostile towards women or other people targeted for discrimination. Harmful images and discriminatory jokes or remarks are abusive and disrespectful.

For details, see MenEngage Sexual Harassment Policy and Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy


Discrimination entails treating people negatively on the basis of their race, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, nationality, age, religion, disabilities, or any other trait. It can manifest in behavior or language that is racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and classist.

Policies and institutional decisions against individuals or groups based on prejudices are also instances of discrimination. Favoritism toward those with certain backgrounds or traits and exclusion of those coming from marginalized communities are other forms of discrimination.

Conflicts of interest

It refers to situations in which personal interests are in conflict (or could be in conflict) with the interests of the organisation, network, or MenEngage Alliance. They are decisions or actions that benefit specific members, or their family or friends, affecting the interests of the collective.

If a member or staff member is presented with a situation whose outcome creates personal benefit for him or herself, friends or relations, or the member organisation, at the expense of the integrity of MenEngage, there may be a conflict of interest and it should be avoided.

(For more details, see MenEngage Conflict of Interest Policy)

Fraud and corruption

Fraudulent or corrupted behaviour may stem from the abuse of power, or the position within an organisation, allowing access to data, resources, and services for personal gain. This includes the abuse of entrusted power and authority for private gain.

Any person who performs duties connected to MenEngage Alliance must avoid these behaviours.

(For more details, see MenEngage Corruption-Fraud Prevention Policy)

Substance use disorder

Having a problematic pattern of using alcohol or another substance is both self-harming and can cause harm to others. If a MenEngage Alliance member is at risk of or has a substance use disorder, we will encourage them to seek professional help immediately.

Members should not engage in work under the influence of alcohol or other substances. They must use good judgement when consuming alcohol and never drink in a way that makes others feel threatened or disrespected, endangers the safety of others, or violates the law.

Notes on implementation

Members are expected to read and sign this document and related policies. Learning spaces will be offered to reflect on these commitments and support each other. Anyone can report breaches of this Code of Conduct. In addition to all leaders of the Alliance, there are focal points per regional network who receive concerns and there is also an anonymous hotline. See our Reporting a Concern page for further guidance.

Corrective actions will be taken when breaches of this Code of Conduct occur, which may take the form of restorative approaches or disciplinary actions. Other measures of civil and penal responsibility may also be taken, according to the law of the land.