CSW61 working session – Engaging men and boys in social norms change on women’s rights and gender justice

CSW61 consultation flyer

Gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment and rights are a cross-cutting concern throughout Agenda 2030, and concrete targets have been set in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This consultation will explore how gender transformative approaches engaging men and boys can contribute to achieving crucial goals and targets set by Agenda 2030 and SDGs.

This consultation aims to collect promising practices, risks and obstacles, and program and policy recommendations from CSW participants, for the development of a comprehensive Agenda for Action that is inclusive of engaging men and boys and transforming masculinities to contribute to achieving the SDGs, to be launched at the High Level Political Forum in July 2017. The consultation aims to build the ground for an Agenda for Action and encourage Member States and UN agencies to embrace these suggestions in the implementation and monitoring of the agenda.

Registration is required in advance to access to UNFPA HQ! 

Please RSVP and register by Monday 13 March with your name and organization here

If you have any trouble registering or entering the building, please contact joni[at]menengage.org


UNFPA HQ, Conference Room 5D, 605 3rd Ave (between 39th/40th str.), New York.

Background & purpose

Agenda2030 for Sustainable Development and the SDGs must be transformative and embrace a human rights-based approach, this is indispensable to ensure that no-one is left behind. The realization of gender equality and transforming deeply entrenched gender inequalities is essential for achieving inclusive and sustainable development and driving meaningful change for our global community. Achieving the SDGs at global, regional and national level requires meaningful citizen participation in every stage of the process, from developing the agenda, to its implementation, all the way through monitoring and evaluation.

Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls requires a shift in underlying rigid norms and the transformation of patriarchal power structures. Given that women’s and men’s lives are intertwined, to achieve gender equality working with men and boys is one critical piece of the puzzle, in addition to and in support of the many decades of important activism done for women’s rights and gender equality by feminist women’s rights organizations and activists.

Boys and men continue to experience many privileges in patriarchal societies, whereas women and girls, and people with diverse gender identities, continue to be disproportionately affected by multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and structural inequalities. At the same time, there is increasing understanding that boys and men are also negatively affected as a result of restrictive gender roles and norms, with negative consequences for themselves and those around them. Boys and men can play an important role as partners, allies, supporters and champions for gender equality, by learning about gender inequalities, the root causes of gender inequality and human rights and actively transforming discriminatory gender norms and power inequalities between people across gender identities.


12:30 PM             Walk-in & lunch

1 – 2 PM              Introductions & Panel

  • Bandana Rana, CEDAW Committee
  • Merle Gosewinkel, Women Peacemakers Program (WPP)
  • Itumeleng Komanyane, MenEngage Africa & Sonke Gender Justice
  • Youth representative (will be identified at CSW61 Youth Forum)

2 – 3:30 PM          Workshop with discussion groups

  • Eliminating VAW & GBV
  • Unpaid care & women’s economic empowerment
  • SRHR for all
  • Peace & active non-violence
  • Youth leadership
  • Accountability & confronting backlash
  • Cross-cutting issues: macro-economic issues, climate change, gender & diversity

3:30 – 4 PM          Plenary sharing of key recommendations & Outline of next steps and ways to engage

Key questions

Bearing in mind that our aim is to formulate recommendations to governments and related agencies/institutions, to feed into our policy advocacy at the HLPF:

  • What need to be the guiding principles in gender transformative work engaging men and boys? What is needed to ensure that the work of governments, civil society and other stakeholders to achieve the SDGs is gender-transformative, feminist-informed, rights-based, and in support of women’s space and work for gender equality (especially since the latter is under severe pressure)? Define the do’ and don’ts.
  • How can work on transforming masculinities and engaging boys and men contribute to the agenda of women’s rights and gender equality, within the purview of Agenda 2030 & the SDGs? How do social norms around masculinities and gender affect the priority issues (see SDG targets) and what need to be the roles and responsibilities of men and boys? How can personal and small-scale positive changes inspire a large-scale transformative agenda that addresses the politics of patriarchy: systemic forms of discrimination, oppression and violence that are fostered by systems of power – such as in economy, politics, peace and security?
  • How can we strengthen broader uptake, reach and impact of gender transformative work with men and boys? What are concrete examples of promising policies and programs that we can learn from and build on – and that need to be put to practice? What can governments do? What can UN agencies, private sector, civil society do?
  • How can we ensure meaningful participation of feminist women’s rights organizations and activists and other civil society in decision making, development and implementation of policies and programmes to achieve the SDG’s?

Priority issues

The consultation will focus on priority issues, anchored in Agenda 2030 and the SDGs:

  1. Increase in men and boys who condemn all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls (SDG 5.1; 5.2; 5.3);
  2. Reduced homophobia/transphobia and increased support for LGBTQI rights and diverse sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI);
  3. Increase in men’s and boys’ roles, responsibilities and increase universal access to SRHR for all  – including family planning, child- and maternal- health, safe and legal abortion, HIV/AIDS and STIs treatment and prevention services (SDG 5.6 & 3.7);
  4. Increase in men’s and boys’ physical and mental health seeking behavior, including seeking help to change violent behaviors (SDG 5.6 and 5.2);
  5. Increased responsibility and uptake of unpaid care by men and boys’ (SDG 5.4);
  6. Increased support among men and boys for women and girls’ full and effective participation and equal opportunities in leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life (SDG 5.5) – including in historically masculine and male-dominated institutions;
  7. Increase in men’s and boys’ active non-violent attitudes, roles and responsibilities to prevent violence, war, crises and armed conflict (SDG 16).
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