“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” – UN Women
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2019, the Alliance stands in solidarity with the ongoing struggles for women’s empowerment, equality and rights, and honors the pioneering work and leadership of women’s rights organizations and feminist movements. We’d like to take this opportunity to remind ourselves of the work that has gone and continues to be done by feminist women’s rights leaders around the world working tirelessly to defend our freedoms and rights (Source: Global Fund For Women).
We call on all those working to engage men and boys in this work to reflect on, recognize, and celebrate all the women human rights defenders – past, present and future – who have laid the foundations and continue to pave the way for the progress that we strive to support as allies.
MenEngage Alliance is committed to work as allies to women’s rights and social justice movements, to end the sexist and misogynistic culture that has long been fostered by patriarchy and hold those who maintain it to account. As an Alliance of civil society NGOs around the world, we strive to promote this work in an accountable manner towards feminist women’s rights and LGBTQI+ movements.
As network and organizations working to engage men and boys in gender equality and women’s rights, March 8th is a time for amplifying and elevating the work of the marginalised voices we strive to support as allies. You can join in the conversation on social media today with the hashtag #InternationalWomensDay. But we also understand being an ally is about more than just showing solidarity on social media. It is about taking real and meaningful actions to transform your own behavior – at home, at work, in the gym, on the street, everywhere.
It goes beyond taking action in your private lives, for men and boys in power in all spheres of society to be allies with women’s rights activists and feminist groups, in the demands for policies and institutional practices that actively advance women’s rights and gender justice for all.
Men and boys cannot continue looking upon women and girls as solely responsible for solving problems and issues of abuse and violence they face at the hands of mostly men and boys, including by those who are close to them. This requires boys and men to examine and transform their attitudes and behavior towards women and girls, and start taking responsibility to denounce and actively engage in dismantling the system that sustains it: patriarchy.
Achieving gender equality and the rights and empowerment of all women and girls requires a shift in patriarchal power structures and transform masculinities, which are among the major forces that drive structural injustices that oppress women and girls. Change at the individual and structural levels, which is where violence and discrimination are experienced, can only occur if all levels of society are engaged in a process of transformation: individual, community, institutions, and government. With the need to transform social systems at large, we move from the individual to the system, specifically patriarchal power structures which perpetuate the systematic oppression of women and girls.
Wishing you an impactful and purposeful engagement this March 8th and in the year ahead.
Global Secretariat team