From Cape Town to Kivu to Cairo, from Abidjan to Antananarivo, all across Africa, men are beginning to work for gender justice in their families and communities. Together with women’s rights organisations, national and local governments, religious and traditional leaders and a wide range of community-based organisations, men and boys are taking courageous stands against domestic and sexual violence, mobilising to reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS and committing themselves to deepening democracy and strengthening human rights across the continent. Reflecting this growing movement to involve men and boys in achieving gender justice, over 300 women and men from twenty five countries gathered in Johannesburg to build the Global MenEngage Alliance and issue this declaration and call to action.
Men are implicated in health and human rights crises across Africa. Men are also essential for their successful resolution –whether it be stopping sexual violence in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; accelerating demilitarisation and disarmament in Central and East Africa; preventing new HIV infections, expanding treatment and reducing the burden of AIDS care borne by women and girls across the entire continent; increasing men’s active involvement in the lives of their children; strengthening health systems or promoting a more active sense of citizenship aimed at holding government to account for their commitments.
We now have evidence that well implemented gender transformative interventions can bring about significant changes in men’s gender and HIV related attitudes and practices. However, meaningful change at the societal level, requires civil society and government to work together to increase the scale and impact of these interventions. In other areas innovative new interventions are required. Meaningful change at the societal level requires all stakeholders to work together, including individuals, NGOs, media, donors, governments and international organisations. It is particularly important that the gender equality work that focuses on working with men and boys needs to develop in conjunction with and build on the work done by the women’s movement.
The principles that inform this declaration and work that aims to transform gender norms include a commitment to gender equality, human rights, feminist analysis, inclusion, transparency, accountability and social justice. This declaration and call to action is intended to provide a unified set of education, advocacy, policy and research priorities identified at the MenEngage Africa Symposium held in Johannesburg Oct 5-9th 2009, to advance work with men and boys for gender equality.
Download the PDF of the declaration below.
Institutional Sponsor: MenEngage Africa