This online dialogue took place on 10 June 2020. It explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of young people and gender norms of masculinity.
About this dialogue
This online dialogue, the third in the series ‘Patriarchy, masculinities and COVID-19’, focused on the impact of COVID-19 on young people, in particular on how gender norms around masculinity are shifting or being reinforced during this time. Young leaders and activists from the Alliance from diverse contexts shared their experiences of how the pandemic is affecting their lives and activism. They provided examples of concrete strategies to respond to these new challenges to create sustainable and lasting change and advance equality and justice for all.
There is encouraging evidence that younger generations of boys and men in most parts of the world are more accepting of gender equality and women’s rights. Boys and men continue to experience many advantages in our patriarchal societies. At the same time, they are also affected by restrictive gender roles and norms that have negative consequences for themselves, and those around them. Boys and men can play an important role as partners, allies and supporters for gender equality, by learning about gender inequalities and human rights at an early age and using their power and privilege to actively challenge gender norms and address power inequities. Boys and men, for example, can take on greater responsibility for unpaid care work to support their female counterparts to thrive in their professional and personal lives. In addition, they can also practice healthy, gender-equal relationships, and help prevent sexual and gender-based violence in all its forms.
Meaningfully engaging boys and young men through gender transformative approaches is critical for promoting the rights of girls and young women and people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.
Working with boys and young men from an early age has the potential for transformative change, as has been envisioned by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. This means providing boys and young men the space to reflect on and redefine “what it means to be a man”, to challenge how power operates between genders, and reconstruct it for the benefit of all.
By examining the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in the lives of young people, this webinar served to build momentum, knowledge, and power to support deeper and more meaningful engagement and leadership of young people in gender justice.
Hassan is the Senior Masculinities Program Officer at ABAAD – Resource Center for Gender Equality, an ECOSOC accredited organization that aims to achieve gender equality as an essential condition to sustainable social and economic development in the MENA region. Hassan conducts TOTs and workshops for front liners from local and international NGOs, to increase awareness about masculinities and gender socialization. Hassan has been heavily involved in the pilot and implementation of ABAAD’s Programme Abb, which aims to engage fathers in positive disciplining and modern education techniques, and Programme RA; a capacity building training manual on working with young men around issues like non-violence, SRHR, substance abuse, and gender equality. Hassan has represented ABAAD at the CSW Youth Forum in the United Nations headquarters for 2 consecutive years, and Gender 360 summit in Washington DC. He holds a master’s degree in Healthcare management and Quality Technology.
Eleni is a Social Worker and is currently the Program Manager of ‘Human Rights and Social Development Program’ at ACT for SOCIETY Center, operating in Albania. She is the Project Coordinator of ‘Young Men Initiative’ project in Albania, “Men and Boys as Partners in Promoting Gender Equality and the Prevention of Youth Extremism and Violence in the Balkans” under the framework of CARE International in Balkans. She is also voluntarily the Youth Opportunities Ambassador for Albania, helping young men and women towards personal and professional development opportunities worldwide.
Kapila is the founder of Voices of Humans. He is a consultant and activist on gender, sexuality, environment and human rights. He is an expert in art-based approaches to address social issues and a design thinker and social media influencer. Currently he is working as Gender consultant for the Ministry of Agriculture, irrigation and rural development in Sri Lanka.
Festus is a sexual and gender minorities activist and sexual reproductive health and rights advocate in Q-Initiative Eldoret, Kenya with a background in social work, HIV testing and counseling, and human rights for sexual minorities. Festus is a member of the MenEngage Africa Youth Steering Committee.
Tivia Collins (moderator)