The turn of a new year is, for many, a time to look forward. It is also a chance to re-evaluate the urgent challenges of today – from gender inequalities and women’s rights, to healthcare inequalities in the face of a pandemic, to a climate emergency that leaders seem unwilling to address, to the rise of right-wing nationalist politics around the world.
While the calendar year may have changed, the unsustainable and unjust systems on which these issues are based remain the same.
Yet energy for societal transformation – a systems-change agenda – has been building across movements for many years. Voiced most clearly by indigenous rights activists and intersectional feminist voices, this collective agenda is growing ever stronger.
So, as we look ahead to the next 12 months, we echo the words of some of our members:
“I hope 2022 will be the year of achievement! Less dream, more action! No more discrimination and zero tolerence for injustice. Less promise and more practice for gender justice!”, Sariaka Nantenaina, MenEngage Africa Chairperson.
“Let’s make 2022 the year we reach a positive tipping point, the one towards a profound system change towards equality and a healthy planet”, Katrien van der Heyden from MenEngage Europe
We look forward to working together in close and meaningful partnerships, and in solidarity for these goals in solidarity with women’s rights, LGBTIQ Rights, Racial Justice, Climate Justice and diverse social justice movements.
For MenEngage Alliance, we are happy to reaffirm that there are many exciting collective actions and opportunities coming up in 2022.
10 things to look out for across MenEngage Alliance in 2022
1. Renewing our shared values and political agenda
In the years since MenEngage Alliance was first formed, the global and political world has changed. As have our own knowledge and understanding of intersectional feminism, accountability, decolonization, and the politics of partners advancing these interrelated agendas. We have also learned a lot about what these aspirations mean for work to transform masculinities and engage men and boys towards gender, climate, racial, and social justice.
To help bring our principles up to date, a series of consultations and discussions have taken place over the past 18 months. These consultations have given space for members and partners to critically reflect on our shared purpose, common values, and collective political agenda.
These discussions are part of a process to update the MenEngage Core Principles, Code of Conduct and Accountability Standards – the three key pillars that form a framework for our collective vision and mission (these are commitments that all members sign on to).
2. Building on our most ambitious collective activity to date
2021 saw our most ambitious collective mobilization to date in the form of the 3rd MenEngage Global Symposium – The Ubuntu Symposium. In many ways, the 7-month online event was an experiment for how we can share and learn together as a global community.
This year, we are taking what we learned from the symposium to create new, ongoing opportunities for learning, sharing, networking, and collaboration. Some of this will take the form of new resources, videos, and publications. And we are also looking at how the experience of the symposium can inform how we connect as a community across times and places on an ongoing basis.
With this in mind, we are currently working together with our regional networks to establish a MenEngage Learning Collaborative, and we will be sharing more during 2022.
3. Expanding youth leadership and engagement across the Alliance
2021 was the first year of our first Alliance-wide Youth Engagement and Leadership Strategy. This was an important step for our aspirations towards vibrant youth leadership and engagement across MenEngage.
This year, a newly elected global Youth Reference Group will take this strategy forward – along with youth committees at regional level – and help broaden our community of young voices and leaders.
Look out for opportunities for young leaders to be engaged, visible, and supported across MenEngage Alliance in 2022 and beyond!
4. Advocating for gender justice, from global to regional to national policy spaces
Over the past four years, we have made efforts to be more accountable and organized in advocating for political and policy changes. Our joint advocacy aims to advance gender transformative approaches and, where relevant, engagement of men and boys that is accountable and transformative.
Members of our Global Advocacy Working Group have been representing you, as MenEngage Alliance members, in shaping our collective agenda. This is especially true at the level of the United Nations, where we have been actively supporting feminist advocacy efforts, such as at CSW, Generation Equality Forum, ICPD, and the Human Rights Council.
Several regional networks of MenEngage Alliance are also forging ahead with regional Advocacy Working Groups. And in 2022 we aim to strengthen this coordinated approach to advocacy across national, regional, and global levels. In doing so, we will continue to collectively unpack and carry out accountable advocacy principles in our joint, interconnected advocacy efforts.
As part of more interconnected advocacy approaches, we will be publishing a new toolkit and methodology to review national or international policies. The toolkit will allow anyone to assess how well a national or international policy on engaging men and boys in gender equality adheres to key standards for gender-transformative change. In addition, we will be publishing 9 country scorecards and case studies, as well as a methodological packet and accompanying tools that can be used for national, regional and global level advocacy straight away.
As you continue to support accountable advocacy efforts in your context, keep an eye out for further updates on how we can be more coordinated and effective in working in political spaces towards transforming systems – for gender and social justice for all.
5. Taking critical steps in being an accountable network for gender justice
Throughout 2022, we will continue to work together to put accountability into action and to live up to the values we want to see in the world. We have several practical activities planned for this.
The recent launch of our ‘complaints and feedback’ system aims to make it easier for people to share issues, concerns, or violations of the MenEngage Core Principles, Code of Conduct, or Accountability Standards. And this year we are continuing to work with regional networks to roll out this system across our networks.
Furthermore, we are offering capacity strengthening opportunities in 2022 to help more people in the network to promote accountable practices, and to support those who report accountability issues. Importantly, we want to foster a culture of not only ‘calling out’ issues, but ‘calling people in’ to positive, accountable practices, behaviours, and approaches.
6. Deepening our Inner Work of Social Change - as a collective and as individuals
There is an ever-increasing understanding across MenEngage Alliance of the need to foster inner transformation as a foundation for creating the change we want to see in the world. That is why members across MenEngage have been developing ideas and spaces to explore the idea of inner work for social change.
This year, we are developing this into an actionable strategy for creating more opportunities to engage in the important work of transformative change. This may take the form of spaces to explore inner work, or monthly check-in circles. Through these activities we hope to reflect and grow as individuals, communities, and as a global alliance supporting social transformation.
7. Creating spaces to address challenging topics
Social change work is not always a clear path, free of any disagreement. And social change movements are not free of the unequal power dynamics we strive to dismantle in the world. This is true for feminist spaces and our own community of aspiring allyship and solidarity. That is why, this year, we are committing to creating more spaces where we can come together to have respectful, positive, and productive dialogues on challenging topics.
Whenever we hold spaces for sharing different views, we aspire to meet the commitments of the MenEngage Ubuntu Declaration and Call to Action to: “center and elevate the agency, voices, analysis and demands of women; LGBTQI individuals; people of color; Black, indigenous and youth communities – centering those living at these intersections and who are on the margins of the margins”.
Topics for discussion include men’s roles and responsibilities in sex work/prostitution; and popular male engagement intitiatives that reinforce gender stereotypes and inequalities. We will also use these spaces to continue looking inwards – to learn and apply recent insights and commitments on anti-racism, decolonizing our practices, and addressing power inequalities in our own organizing.
We believe that creating opportunities for meaningful dialogue, based on intersectional feminist principes, on challenging topics like these is a key part of navigating towards a world where all people are equal and free from discrimination and oppression.
8. A new online course for exploring Power, Patriarchy and Feminism
We will be piloting a new online course on the foundational and fundamental concepts of power, patriarchy, and feminism. We believe that critically exploring these concepts is an essential part of doing accountable work for dismantling oppressive systems and towards gender justice. That’s why we have developed a new online curriculum to guide our members and anyone else interested to dive deeper into these topics.
Whether you have learned about these topics before or not, we hope the course will help you in your work to transform masculinities and work with men and boys for gender and social justice. We will share more during the year about how to take part in this online opportunity.
9. More solidarity with anti-oppression movements
In a world facing multiple interrelated crises, the need for cross-movement solidarity is clearer than ever before. We believe our added value to the work of anti-oppression movements is by offering a critical analysis on a ‘men and masculinities lens’.
Whether we are working to support women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, racial justice, indigenous rights, climate justice or any other social justice issue, in 2022 we aim to build and strengthen partnerships with diverse organisations, networks, and movements – in solidarity for transformative change. As part of this, we will be appointing two new board members from organisations focussed on LGBTQI and Youth leadership.
10. New global website!
We are pleased to share that this story is published on our new global website. This website is the new hub for information about the Global Alliance. Members will have the opportunity to create a public profile on the website and be on an interactive map of members, which will serve as a living map of our global community. In addition, the website will serve as a central hub for news, stories, and resources by and for members of MenEngage Alliance.