Young men and the construction of masculinity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for HIV/AIDS, Conflict, and Violence

Gender is increasingly being used as a framework for analysis and program development in youth and social development, HIV/AIDS and conflict in Africa. Gender has often referred to the disadvantages that women and girls face, given gender inequalities in the region, this has been necessary. However, a gender perspective has too often ignored the gender of men and boys. Accordingly, this report explores the constructions of manhood in Africa and the implications for conflict and post-conflict recovery, and HIV/AIDS. This paper argues for applying a more sophisticated gender analysis related to conflict and to HIV/AIDS to examine how men and women, and boys and girls, are made vulnerable by rigid notions of manhood and gender hierarchies. The paper’s central question is: What does a gender perspective mean when applied to young men in sub-Saharan Africa as related to conflict and HIV/AIDS?

Authors: Gary Barker and Christine Ricardo

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